AFTER a tumultuous off-season it will not only be Seymour Football Netball Club players and members but the entire community relishing a return to normality as the 2023 Goulburn Valley league season commences.

The Lions formed the backbone of a community response to record flooding that inundated Seymour in November, but while the disaster disrupted the club’s 2023 preparations by forcing them from their Kings Park home, president Gerard O’Sullivan said spirits remained high.

With fresh turf laid at Kings Park, O’Sullivan said the Lions were relishing the opportunity to play in front of a home crowd.

“The ground has come back fantastically. It’s as good as it’s ever been. The facility is great, we’ve just got to get it up and running now,” he said.

“I think people will be keen to get back to the footy to connect socially as part of the flood recovery process.”

On the field, finals will be a priority for the senior footballers under coach Ben Davey, while the A Grade netball side is intent on defending the premiership it won in 2022.

“We definitely have to play finals,” O’Sullivan said of the football side.

“We missed out by half a goal last year on percentage, so that was pretty disappointing for the club. We certainly don’t want to do that again.

“Playing finals is goal number one, and then as to how far we go, time will tell.”

Aiding Seymour’s bid for a finals berth will be a trio of recruits from Riddell League side Wallan, with midfielder Ricky Schraven, defender Nathan Fowler and ruckman Will Brock all joining the Lions.

Former Western Bulldogs AFL player and current Essendon VFL recruit Bradley Lynch also signed with Seymour last week, although O’Sullivan said his appearances for the Lions would likely be limited as he focused on VFL commitments.

On the netball court, Seymour will remain largely unchanged, with defender Nikita Singe one of the few departures from the A Grade team.

With the Lions having won all three senior grades of netball last year, O’Sullivan said the players were eager to defend their titles this season.

“We’ll be pretty much the same as last year, and it was obviously a very successful season,” he said.

“The girls have been back at it over the course of the summer and look fit and ready to go.

“It will be tough to replace Nikita Singe because she’s moved to Queensland with her work, but it will be an opportunity for someone else to step up, which will be good.”

The Lions’ season starts on April 7 at Benalla, with its first home game slated for April 15 against Rochester.