MYRTLEFORD defender Matt Dussin will captain the Ovens and Murray for the first time at Rosebud on Saturday.
Dussin, who will fly out of Australia the following day to attend his sister's wedding in Italy, was one of Luke Garland's deputies when the league thrashed Western Region by 76 points last season.
"He's captain of Myrtleford and is a really strong leader," co-coach Brad Murray said.
"We've been rotating the captaincy around in recent years and 'Henners' (Jon Henry) and I think he'll do a great job.
"He's got a lot of respect throughout the league and captaining the Ovens and Murray is obviously a real feather in his cap."
Garland and Wangaratta's Ben Speight will be the vice-captains.
Dussin will miss Myrtleford's next three matches against top teams Albury, Lavington and Wangaratta while overseas.
The key position star has been named in the ruck but is likely to spend time in defence with Lavington's Tim Hanna in the side.
"Tonight was the best we have trained as a group," Murray said.
"We think it's a good side and hopefully everyone comes together and plays well on Saturday.
"The side is strong across the board with some new faces and others who have represented the league before."
A win over Mornington Peninsula Nepean on Saturday will elevate the Ovens and Murray to the one versus two match next year.
It will be fourth time the Ovens and Murray and Mornington Peninsula Nepean have met in the last nine years.
Mornington Peninsula Nepean holds a perfect 3-0 record, posting victories in 2011, 2013 and 2015.
Coach Chris Holcombe said there would be plenty at stake.
"The carrot is there again to have a crack at the number-one ranking next year and that's something that is worth fighting for," Holcombe said.
"We're doing things a lot differently this year and I'm really happy with how the group is coming together.
"Last year we went wide and had a lot of training sessions, where this year we have selected a smaller group and will train just three times in the lead in.
"I'm confident it will be the right preparation method."