LEESA Battistello knows she's at the helm of a junior powerhouse.
The first-year coach says South Warrnambool is ready to make the most of its strong youth structures as it strives for open grade success.
Competition for places is already heating up.
Battistello has secured Geelong Cougars pair Emma Stacey and Geneiveve O'Connor, who will train at the Victorian Netball League club but commute for Hampden league action.
O'Connor, a South Warrnambool junior, has returned to Friendly Societies Park after stints with Geelong-based clubs Leopold and South Barwon.
She will play alongside sister Ally, who is also returning after a year off through illness, while goaler Annie Blackburn and midcourter Ruby Wilson have signed on.
There's a really good mix of established players and young talents.Leesa Battistello
"I think South is reaping the rewards of the junior programs we've had in place for some time," Battistello said.
"We have four under 17 players from last season who are ready to step up and most of the recruits we've pulled back are ex-South players who are coming back.
"The thing we've struggled with a bit is that we've won a lot of junior premierships but we haven't been able to translate that to senior success.
"I think this year we'll see a bit of all that time and effort pay off. It's an exciting time for the club."
Battistello, whose husband Mat is the Roosters' senior football coach, has first-hand experience with the club's next crop of stars.
The Dunnstown premiership mentor co-coached South Warrnambool's 17 and under outfit to a premiership alongside Gill Herrman last season and is determined to blood talent to the open grade.
Battistello revealed goaler Meg Sutherland and dynamo Meg Kelson were expected to clock more top-grade court time in 2020.
For now, gelling the new-look side and building a winning culture is high on the first-year mentor's pre-season agenda.
"A lot of the girls have individual gym stuff to do so they're keeping their fitness that way," Battistello said.
"We're committed to training one night a week this season but doing it for a bit longer.
"It's really up to the girls to spend their own time being fit. If you're only working on that one or two nights a week, it isn't going to be enough.
"We've been focusing our time together on building our success culture through team building and working on our structures.
"We're really working on the mechanical side of netball, I guess you could say."
South Warrnambool is gearing up for a round one battle against traditional rival Warrnambool at home.
The Roosters' season kicks off on April 4.
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