WITH the kings of Illawarra men's squash, Lakeside Eagles, finally dethroned, Lakeside Superoos skipper Mirco Main says his club is up for the challenge of defending its title in the new competition starting tonight.
Superoos ended a run of five straight Premier League titles by Eagles by beating Dapto Bulls in last season's grand final.
Eagles have responded to missing the semi-finals last season by recruiting NSW top-five ranked Brett Hyland as their new No 1 player this season, while Superoos have the same team to defend the title.
"Straight away Eagles have brought in a new player as their No 1 after losing their crown, but we'll be ready," Main said.
"Eagles are like the Manly Sea Eagles, you love to hate them.
"From a competition viewpoint it's great to have top players like Brett [Hyland] play in the Illawarra comp and it's good sign of the strength of our comp.
"We'll have to lift our game to defend the title but we're ready for anything.
"We've been together a couple of years now and gained some confidence out of winning the comp last season."
Eagles veteran Troy Mountford expects his side to reload for another title shot.
"Things didn't finish the way we wanted last season and Brett [Hyland] will definitely improve us," Mountford said.
Joining Hyland as a new Premier League No 1 is Aaron Graham at Collegians, while Jamie Wheatley returns as the Superoos' No 1.
NSW No 8-ranked Michael Bolton is again Dapto Bulls's No 1, with Dane Sephton the Dapto Greyhounds' No 1 and Paul Peters to lead the way for Raptors.
The men's elite competition begins with Collegians hosting Superoos at Collegians Tennis and Squash Club.
Dapto Bulls, the grand finalists the past three seasons, host Dapto Raptors at Dapto Squash Courts.
The Eagles are hosting Greyhounds at Lakeside Leisure Centre.