WHEN you think of the Koroit midfield, the names Damian O'Connor, Brett Harrington, James Gow and Liam Hoy spring to mind.
But lesser known players are embracing the chance to earn minutes in one of the Hampden league's most imposing onball brigades.
Koroit coach Chris McLaren said Lachie Rhook, Frazer Robb and Connor Hinkley had been given more responsibility in 2019 and it was paying dividends.
Rhook was one of the Saints' best in their 16.6 (102) to 8.7 (55) win over fellow top-five side Port Fairy at Victoria Park on Saturday.
McLaren said Rhook "was just so clean" against the Seagulls.
"Lachie was outstanding and our best player today," he said.
"He's predominantly been a bit of wing, bit of half-back in previous years and this year he's worked really hard on his fitness and spent a lot more time with the onball group building his craft."
McLaren said it was pleasing to see Rhook, Robb and Hinkley develop and earn midfield minutes.
Robb made the most of his recall as a late replacement for injured utility Ben Dobson (achilles soreness).
"We're always trying to get our younger players through there a little bit," he said.
"They do a lot of work with the mids during the week (at training) and then don't go in there as much (in games) so they're actually learning the craft, learning the role really well so hopefully when they get more time inside they're ready."
The Saints held a slender two-point lead at half-time but kicked 11 goals to four after the main break.
Port Fairy assistant coach Winis Imbi said the Seagulls were "disappointed with how we went about it".
"Our first half, especially the second quarter, we got the game back on our terms," he said.
"But Koroit do it well and they do it for longer and that is where our side has to grow with maturity."
Imbi said Port Fairy had "standards at the club now".
"We don't accept the pat on the back when we know we can be better," he said.
"That is where we challenged our group."
Imbi said the Seagulls' young players showed glimpses but had work to do.
"They did well offensively but defensively as a collective they were really poor in their transition," he said.
"The boys have to grow and mature and to be fair they've done it for a long portion of the year but they've just got to make sure they keep that intent up for four quarters.
"Because when you drop off, we saw the cause and effect of that today."
Koroit lost Gow to an ankle injury in the first five minutes of the match.
McLaren said the Saints took a no-risk policy with the VFL-listed ball winner with finals around the corner.
Both Gow and Ben Dobson are a chance to play against Terang Mortlake in the final round.
Seagulls ruckman Sandy Robinson was a late out with illness.
Captain Xavier McCartney was hurt in a tackle and midfielder Tom Sullivan finished with a corked calf.
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.