Royals will be out to kick their season off with a win when they come up against Mt Barker in round one of the Great Southern Football League competition on Saturday. The Bulls, having been hit with considerable player losses and a change of coaches on the eve of the season, will square off with a Lions side also missing a stack of their top talent at Retravision Stadium. The Bulls were one of the major stories last season, finishing with 11 wins and four losses across their 2022 campaign before going out in straight sets in the finals. Kleemann medallist Zach Jackson along with a host of other big losses present the Bulls with further challenges this season while the Lions are also grappling with a considerable injury list ahead of round one. Key swingman Hamish McMorran won’t play this season while midfield star Zak Mola is also sidelined with a season-ending Achilles injury from a recent practice match. The Lions endured an up-and-down season in 2022, finishing third on the ladder with a win-loss record of 9-6 before going down in a thrilling elimination final loss to eventual grand finalists Albany. Lions coach Andrew Ruck said he was looking forward to their first hit-out of the season. “I think you never know with Mt Barker, I know they changed coaches and Hooky (Brad Hook) has taken over, he’s quite good,” he said. “He gets on with all the players so I’m sure he’ll get them up and about, they always like having a crack against us and we always get on really well together. “We have a pretty good relationship with them and I know it’s pretty hard for them to get players but if they can get all their teams together it would be amazing. “We definitely need Mt Barker as a club so hopefully we can have a quality hit out with them for our first game. “I think like everyone with the first game, we just want to get out there and get our hands on the footy.” The Bulls are set to play a host of younger players in the season-opener. Jackson along with key midfielder Bryce Blaszkow, forward Lincoln East, defender Brent Parsons, ball winner Josh Price, veteran Sam Lehmann and young utility Sebastian Ballard are some of the names that will not be in the Bulls side on Saturday. Hook is expecting a tough first-up challenge. “We will be fairly young,” Hook said. “For us it’s about getting more league footy into these younger guys and that will start this week. We still have that quality at the top end but it will be about how much we can get out of our young kids. “I presume Railways and Sharks, the grand final teams, will be right there again and Royals are always strong and tough to beat.” Meanwhile, prize recruit Jack Beeck is expected to play his first GSFL game on Saturday. Ex-WAFL player Beeck is the big name signing for Albany and will be part of the Sharks side in the other Saturday fixture. Beeck has played 150 games with Claremont will be one of several new faces for the Sharks as they look to replace a host of senior talent that is out from last year’s grand final team. The final round one game will be played on Tuesday with the traditional Anzac Day clash between Railways and North Albany at Tigerland.