FIVE off-season departures will hit Camperdown but coach Neville Swayn believes the club's commitment to nurturing junior talent will keep it competitive.
The Magpies have lost Billy Arnold, Riley Arnold and former captain Matt Field to Noosa while Cairns-bound Fraser Lucas won't feature.
Ruckman Will Rowbottom, who is currently playing for Palmerston Magpies in the Northern Territory Football League, is also no certainty to play at Leura Oval.
But Swayn said several young faces were ready to step up and pointed to the Magpies' solid spine as a positive.
"Our back six is still strong. We've got (Brendan Richardson), Owie (Luke O'Neil), Gus (Gordon), Spency (Cam Spence) running the midfield and Brayden Draffin, Charlie Lucas, all of those guys and then Sam Gordon up front," he said.
We still think our spine is OK and with the young guys we've been able to blood over the past few years, we think we're in a pretty good position.- Neville Swayn
"We still think our spine is OK and with the young guys we've been able to blood over the past few years, we think we're in a pretty good position.
"It's going to be tough because the top sides have been able to recruit and top up so it'll be hard work to go with those top sides but we'll still be in there battling away."
Camperdown has signed Gordon's Jarrod Evans for his second stint in black and white while Henry Green, highly-touted as a junior at Leura Oval, has also returned.
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Swayn, on the cusp of his fourth season as Magpies mentor, said further recruiting was underway.
"But gee it's been hard yakka. Steve Sinnott, our footy manager, and I have been making a lot of phone calls. It's been really tough trying to recruit this year," he said.
"It could just be one of those years where you're still recruiting into February and March."
Swayn said youngsters like Zach Sinnott, Josh Place, Gus Gordon, Harry Sumner, Dom Absalom, Ned Payne, Toby Kent and Luke Ball were also capable of playing consistent senior football.
"There's just a big group of them coming through and they're ready to go now. You've had half a year this year, they've had a couple of years before that," he said.
"They've had four pre-seasons now so they're ready to go. It's just about growing into your body at that age and these guys are doing gym work and that kind of thing so they're stronger."
Camperdown started pre-season in late November before breaking on December 17. It'll return to the track in mid-January in a bid to get itself ready for 2022.
"It's probably been a bit of a different off-season for us in that there'll be a personnel change - not a massive personnel change - but a lot of the younger guys will take the spots of the guys who've left," Swayn said.
"We'll hope to bring a few guys in as well. It's mainly been to develop guys in a few different positions, mainly. That's what the focus will be.
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"This pre-season has been a little bit different to the past few pre-seasons in that regard."
Swayn said a mixture of structure and fitness work would dominate pre-season through January to March.
"It was good starting before Christmas to just get a bit of a base back into the guys," he said.
"We do a bit of testing for the guys but there's a lot of structure stuff in the way we do things. We had the balls out on the first night. It's a bit of a balance."
Camperdown finished fourth in 2021 but COVID-19 restrictions meant it didn't get the chance to play finals footy.
The Hampden league fixture for 2022 has yet to be released.
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