WARRNAMBOOL Wolves' juniors have just endured one of the longest pre-seasons of their blossoming careers.
But their excitement has not wavered through the coronavirus-enforced hiatus and recent return to training.
And this weekend those emotions turn to joy as they return to the pitch for the first time this season when the South West Victoria Football Association's junior competitions begin on Sunday.
The Wolves' five junior grades are scattered across the region for their opening round.
The club's under 12 and under 14 black teams head to Jones Oval to take on cross-town rivals Warrnambool Rangers.
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The under 14 and under 12 yellow teams head to Stawell to take on the Pioneers while the under 16s clash with newcomers Portland at Harris Street Reserve.
Portland, which is new to the competition in 2020, will also feature at Friendly Societies' Park with its two under 12s sides to play each other.
Corangamite Lions' under 12s, 14s and 16s sides will go head-to-head against Hamilton Raiders at Scott's Creek.
Wolves junior coordinator Natasha Cummings said it was "super exciting" to see matches return for the club's rising stars following months of training.
"We have been training since February and then we obviously got shut down because of COVID-19 and we have been back actively training twice a week for five weeks now," she said.
"We have had two intra-club competitions last Sunday and the one before and our kids just want to get out and play. They just want to play games as they are sick of training."
Cummings was also excited by the prospect of Portland joining the league for the first time.
She said it was great and important for the club's young stars to travel together and play against a range of players from other parts of the region.
Cummings said the club and league was thankful Football Victoria was allowing them to go ahead with games despite the return of restrictions in Melbourne.
"We're doing everything we can to protect our players and the pay off is we get to play this Sunday," she said.
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