Royals coach Collin Pass believes his side is entering a new era after a hugely successful past three seasons with the club, which included a perfect 2023 season to win the Great Southern Football League Women’s premiership. The all-conquering Lions were the supreme side last season finishing the season with 12 wins and no losses, demoralising any side that stood in their way. They kept their opponents scoreless on four occasions and finished the home and away season with almost 600 per cent on their way to a dominant flag-winning year. The Lions have been a force in the GSFLW and featured in the past two finals series, however, Pass believes his side is embarking on a new phase that will encourage the development of their younger players. Although Pass admits it would be near impossible to replicate their 2023 season triumphs again, his side is targeting another finals berth. “We are in a new phase with the club, more of a rebuild phase,” he said. “We have plenty of new faces and it will be more about development. “I don’t think we have a lack of hunger, ultimately we want to play finals footy and win grand finals, but we have a much younger squad this time around. “We have a lot of young players in the side and it will really be about developing these younger players.” Pass will be without premiership-winning captain Taylah Orzel, who is playing for Claremont, and midfielder Georgina Lilford who is nursing a third knee reconstruction after tearing an ACL. The Lions will rely heavily on their leadership squad, who Pass believes will be key to their development. “Gracie Gibson will be the captain again who has been a strong leader for us and she will be backed up by a good squad,” he said. “Narelle and Nardia Humphries are elite athletes and will be part of the leadership squad. “Sophie Loveridge and Taylah Burt make up the core leadership squad for our season. “Megan Green is one to look out for this season, she is training really well. “We have a new recruit in Cheyane Harvey, who comes from a soccer background, and she looks really good.” The Lions will kick off their season against Albany, who they beat in last year’s decider, in game two of the opening triple-header at McLean Park on Saturday. Their first home game comes in round three against Mt Barker on Friday, February 16 at Retravision Stadium. ROYALS 2023 finish: Premiers Captain: Gracie Gibson Coach: Collin Pass Key players: Narelle and Nardia Humphries and Cheyane Harvey Prediction: We may have seen the end of Royals’ dominant best as they enter a new phase. Although it’s hard to see them recapture last year’s form, they still pose a significant threat to those pushing for finals.