MUCH like his Richmond side, bowler Matt Shimell is looking at the upcoming Premier Cricket season as a year of consolidation.
The 23-year-old right-arm fast-medium bowler took 33 wickets at an average of 18 last season as the Tigers won the Premier Cricket premiership.
This year the secret is out. Teams will be desperate to beat the Tigers and Shimell's short-burst bowling stints will be met with more attention than they might have previously.
But just as the competition gets tougher, Shimell said the Tigers had taken to the preseason with vigour following their premiership success.
"We know we have performed well in big games and it gives you confidence we can do it in the games to come," he said.
"The feeling among everyone is pretty good and personally I'm feeling like I've improved a bit with fitness and in a few other areas over the offseason."
After being used in short bursts last year, Shimell hopes to take a greater role in the Tiger attack this season, including in the shorter forms.
"I've added a bit of strength and worked on my general execution of skills.
"I want to become a better bowler in shorter forms so I've been practicing my slower balls, bouncers and variations rather than just bowling a stock ball."
The Tigers will also have plenty to be excited about this season as they have a new pavilion and practice nets to use at their Central Reserve, Glen Waverley ground.
While Shimell hasn't been dragged up to any higher-level honours, another strong season in Premier Cricket could put his name under the eyes of Big Bash or Victorian selectors.
Yet he refuses to acknowledge any of those possibilities, unless they arise.
"I've just worked hard to improve my skills at Premier Cricket level," he said. "If there is ever a chance to do anything else then that's a decision for people in those sides to make.
"I will just concentrate on the job of playing well for the Tigers."
■ The Tigers will launch their season at Mulgrave Country Club, Wheelers Hill this Thursday at 7pm. The country club is major sponsor of the Tigers.
Meals from the bistro menu will be available, with the teams for round 1 to be announced.
RICHMOND PREMIER CRICKET FIXTURE 2012-2013
October 6 Richmond v Camberwell Magpies, Central Reserve North 10am
October 13 St Kilda v Richmond, Junction Oval 11am
October 20 Richmond v Geelong, Central Reserve North 11am
October 21 Ringwood v Richmond, Russell Lucas Oval 11am
October 27, November 3 Richmond v Fitzroy-Doncaster, Central Reserve North noon
November 10, November 17 Northcote v Richmond, Bill Lawry Oval noon
November 24 (T20) Hawthorn-Mon Uni v Richmond, Wangaratta Showgrounds 10am
November 24 (T20) Richmond v Camberwell Magpies, Wangaratta Showgrounds 7pm
December 1 (T20) Richmond v Essendon, Central Reserve North 2.30pm
December 2 (T20) Casey-South Melbourne v Richmond, Casey Fields 2.30pm
December 5 (T20) Prahran v Richmond, Toorak Park 5.15pm
December 8, December 15 North Melbourne v Richmond, Junction Oval noon
December 12 (T20) Richmond v Frankston Peninsula, Central Reserve North 5.15pm
December 16 T20 final
December 22 Richmond v Carlton, Central Reserve North 11am
January 12 Melbourne v Richmond, Albert Ground 11am
January 19, January 26 Richmond v Hawthorn-Mon Uni, Central Reserve North noon
January 27 one day final
February 2, February 9 Melbourne Uni v Richmond, University Main Oval noon
February 16, February 23 Richmond v Footscray Edgewater, Central Reserve North noon
March 2, March 9 Dandenong v Richmond, Shepley Oval noon
March 16, March 17 quarter-finals
March 23, March 24 semi-finals
March 30, March 31, April 1 grand final