Melbourne Victory will unleash a host of new talent - and 15 weeks of pent-up aggression - on Western Sydney Wanderers as Kevin Muscat seeks to end his team's poor record in the opening round of the season, which will be live on SBS ONE & HD from 7.30pm (AEDT).
Victory have not claimed all three points from a campaign curtain-raiser since 2006-07 and have become confirmed damp-squib specialists in the last three years, drawing 0-0 against Sydney FC and Melbourne Heart, with a 2-1 loss to their cross-town rivals sandwiched between those two stalemates.
Beating the Wanderers - who are on a high and in good form after advancing to the final of the AFC Champions League - will be no small task.
But Muscat hopes his heavyweight reinforcements and the enthusiasm of a squad desperate to get off the training field and into competitive action can swing the balance in the hosts' favour at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.
"I don't think we've got a hope in hell of getting the points tomorrow night ... maybe we won't turn up," the coach joked when reminded of Victory's miserable record in the first round of the season.
"It is disappointing and it frustrates me. I think it's five years (sic) now where we haven't won on the opening day.
"We've got to get everything right ... turn up tomorrow with a positive attitude, get on the front foot nice and early. Look up after 90 minutes and hopefully the scoreboard will be in our favour.
"We've got a massive game of football that we've worked hard for, that's our sole concern at the moment."
The Victory boss confirmed that all five of his off-season recruits were in contention to make their league debut for the club on Friday, with Besart Berisha certain to lead the line up front.
Mathieu Delpierre and Daniel Georgievski are expected to play at centre-back and left-back respectively, with Carl Valeri to anchor the midfield in the absence of Mark Milligan, who is away with the Socceroos.
The other newcomer, midfielder Fahid Ben Khalfallah, could also see game-time, with young centre-back Nick Ansell the only Victory player ruled out through injury.
"The last four or five days I've sensed a little tension among the group, which is natural, edging closer to kick-off," Muscat said of his restless troops.
"I daresay they'll be a big crowd behind us tomorrow night. We're looking to entertain and take three points."
The season kicks off this Friday night live from 7.30pm AEDT on SBS ONE.