PORT Fairy assistant coach Winis Imbi says two Hampden league rivals' approach is to be respected.
Imbi said North Warrnambool Eagles and Koroit - the top-two teams in 2019 - had been shrewd in their list development with system not personnel the key to their success.
The fourth-placed Seagulls were the first team to beat the Eagles last weekend and play the Saints in round 17 on Saturday.
Imbi said Port Fairy took lessons from the two clubs' coaches.
"This is where full credit goes to Adam Dowie and Chris McLaren as I think they have set benchmark (on creating even lists)," he said.
"It's not about who goes out, it's about the next man to step up and that's what Bill Belichick does at Patriots (in the NFL).
"It might sacrifice talent but it doesn't sacrifice the system. That's where we are maturing as a playing group.
"Yes we don't have Kaine (Mercovich) who has been tremendous for our side but we expect a similar person to do his role and we expect our midfield line to still function the way we want it to."
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