Tara Andrews believes new signings Imogene Tomasone and Sophie Jones could prove the X factor as New Lambton prepare to make a statement against back-to-back champions Merewether this weekend.
The 11th instalment of Herald Women's Premier League kicks off Sunday with the Eagles chasing their first win over United. In five encounters last year, Merewether won twice and three were drawn. The last time they met was in the semi-finals and United came out on top.
"It's going to be quite a tough game but we're all really excited for it," Andrews told the Newcastle Herald as the 2019 season was launched on Wednesday.
"We've had a really good pre-season and a good few trial games, so we're all ready and we want to beat them this time.
"If we can beat Merewether in this first game then it will get our season off to a really good start and I think all of the other teams might get a bit of a shock and say New Lambton are a team to watch this year, so that could definitely go our way."
In their first season, New Lambton had the second-best attack in the league, scoring 48 goals in the season proper. Andrews scored 17 of those and Georgia Amess 10.
They have recruited strike weapon Lauren Allan from Adamstown and midfielder Jones adds plenty of starch to their attack too.
They leaked 48 goals in 15 matches but the acquisition of game-changing goalkeeper Tomasone should make New Lambton's goal harder to penetrate this season.
"We've got Lauren, Sophie and Imogene, so we've strengthened those areas," Andrews said.
"There's probably not one person in particular but our forward line combined really well in attack in a trial game last weekend, so I think the four of us up top will do really well together."
Jones and Tomasone return to the league after a season off to play futsal with East Coast. They won the Australian Futsal Association championships in January and will compete at the world titles in Orlando, United States in July.
They bring a wealth of experience and talent to the WPL's newest club. Tomasone has played 97 first-grade matches in stints with Valentine, Merewether and Mid North Coast. Jones has played for Merewether, Wallsend and Mid North Coast for 58 appearances.
Both were integral to United securing their first championship in 2015 then helping Mid North Coast seal a finals appearance in 2017.
Part of the lure of returning to the league this year for the Port Macquarie-based pair was helping the Eagles to win some silverware.
The game is at Myamblah Oval and kicks off at 2.30pm.
Also on Sunday, Warners Bay play Adamstown, Mid North Coast host South Wallsend in Taree and Wallsend are at home to Thornton.