Will anyone stop Koroit from winning an unprecedented eighth premiership flag in 2023? The Standard looks at where each team stands.
Ins: Will Rowbottom, Jason Baird (NTFL); Riley Arnold (Noosa); Aiden Dann (Broome); Desmond James (Halls Creek); Sidney Bradshaw (year off); Brendan Richardson, Hugh Gordon (injury). Outs: Jarrod Evans (Kolora-Noorat); Isaac Stephens (Nirranda); Zach Anderson (Simpson); Luke Molan (retired); Ash Royal (overseas); Ned Payne (Bell Park).
Player to watch: Developing teen James O'Neil is one who could cement a spot at half forward, a role left vacant by Stephens.
Coach's comment: "We expect to improve a fair bit but in saying that it will be gradual. I think right across the board a bit more depth and evenness across the ground." - Neville Swayn.
Prediction: Seventh - Expect the Magpies to be more competitive with handy inclusions, with a question of how much ground they can make up on the league's best.
Ins: Brody Mahoney, Jesse Williamson (Colac); Jack Hammond (Tongala); Tom Mahony (Panmure); Daniel Watson (overseas); Ash Rosolin (Nirranda); Jordan Fowler (Timboon Demons); Noah Mounsey (Katherine Camels); Mark Marriott (Hatherleigh). Outs: Nil.
Player to watch: Jordan Fowler hasn't looked out of place in his first Hampden pre-season. The half back flank/wing should be in contention for round one.
Coach's comment: "There's a lot of pressure for spots. The expectation is the boys have a lot of fun trying to play finals football. If we crack that top five, we know we can challenge the best." - Dan Casey
Prediction: Fourth - Cobden will be in the mix for top five after keeping its list intact and adding further firepower with several experienced signings.
Ins: Oscar Linke (Penshurst). Outs: Angus Noske (Nth W'Bool Eagles); Andrew Pepper (Leopold); Vincent Huf (cricket); Nathan Fall (Glenthompson Dunkeld).
Player to watch: Teen forward Hamish Cook has enjoyed a big pre-season in the gym after making his senior debut last year for 13 games and 23 goals.
Coach's comment: "My boys will play a fast, running style of footy. Those boys that have up around 50 senior games, seeing them take that next step, that's where I see our improvement coming from." - Hamish Waldron
Prediction: Eighth - With nine under 18.5 premiership players stepping into seniors, this is a list with lots of upside. The Kangaroos' best lands them anywhere from five to seven but consistency may take time to perfect.
Ins: Clem Nagorcka, Levi Nagorcka (St Joey's); James Gow; Jag McInerney (NTFL); Nathan Rentsch (Penshurst). Outs: Ben Goodall, Jeremy Hausler (retired); Sam Dobson (St Mary's); Jack O'Sullivan (Wodonga).
Player to watch: Mac Petersen, a smooth-moving wing, is still in the early years of a senior career but is amongst a group of 20 to 22-year-olds charged with taking the reins at Koroit.
Coach's comment: "Our goal is just to play a method of footy that can stand up in finals if you can get there and something we think we've been pretty good at over the years." - Chris McLaren
Prediction: Second - The Saints lose four big names, including key position talent, but expect their depth and ability to develop senior talent to endure.
Ins: Nick Rodda (Darley); Angus Noske (Hamilton); Sam McKinnon (Chelsea), Lachlan Seed (Harrow Balmoral); Henry Brooks (Walkerville). Outs: Tate Porter, Jalen Porter (Merrivale); Ben Kellett (Sth Barwon); Billie Smedts (Port Melbourne Colts); Dion Johnstone (St Mary's); Joe McKinnon, Tom James (Warracknabeal); Austin Sinclair (uni); Scott Morter.
Player to watch: Judah Greene should play a bigger role up forward with the departure of fellow small forwards Johnstone and Morter.
Coach's comment: "I still think our best side is capable of being in the very least, the best three teams. What we're going to miss is we're not necessarily going to have that depth." - Adam Dowie
Prediction: Third - Expectation is off the Eagles with several quality players departed. But their key position ranks remain strong and further bolstered by an A grade player in Nick Rodda.
Ins: Theo Opperman, Jason Rowan (W'Bool); Jett Hopper (Horsham); Adam Stirling (Newcomb); Zeb McKenna, Sam Lee (Dennington); Josh Gunning (Russells Creek); Dylan Gunning; Lachie Gunning; Tyson Macilswain. Outs: Jake Hamilton (Dennington); Dylan Chapman (Allansford); Hamish Gleeson (Hawkesdale); Brenton Dalton (Merrigum).
Player to watch: Oscar Pollock will be keen to stamp himself at the senior level after missing the Rebels squad. Can play up forward and through midfield.
Coach's comment: "I think that's where the improvement will come from, just having a full squad of players fit and ready to play. We've got lots of good young kids, we want to use their run." - Dustin McCorkell
Prediction: Ninth - Their competitiveness in games should be well-improved with wins to follow.
Ins: Will Hunter (Hamilton); James Goetz (SA).
Outs: Daniel Jackson, Ty Deans (North Cairns); Lochie Huppatz (Darwin); Harry McIntrye (Bell Post Hill); Kade Lovell, Tex Mitchell (Geelong West); Tom Sharp, Ben Malcolm, Nathan Haylock (not playing); Jack Walsh; Paddy Haylock; Tommy Haylock.
Players to watch: The Tigers hope new captain Josh Edwards and deputy Sam Hampshire can take their games to another level and inspire teammates in the process.
Coach's comment: "Everyone asks me about everyone we've lost but it doesn't matter to me. We're just worried with who we've got here and what we can do with that. We'll just see how we go, no expectations." - Jarrod Holt
Prediction: Tenth - It's hard to see the Tigers remain as competitive as they were in 2022. Their midfield is wiped out and a star forward who contributed 80-odd goals is gone.
Ins: Dan Nicholson (Russells Creek); Paddy Anderson (W'Bool); Jeremy Mugavin (Uni Blues). Outs: James Hussey (Inverleigh).
Player to watch: Myles McCluggage should take the next step in his second year of senior football following a big pre-season within a VFL program.
Coach's comment: "We've got high expectations as we did last year. Our core group of young players, the challenge will be for them to take the next step if we want to compete with the Koroits of the world." - Mat Battistello
Prediction: First - With a stable list and quality inclusions, the Roosters can build on their 2022 campaign, with close finals losses a driving force in their chase for the flag.
Ins: Alex Moloney (Queensland); Rhys Buck (Allansford); Luke McConnell, Ben Reid (Kolora-Noorat); Lewis Taylor (Sydney AFL); Scott Carlin (Geelong VFL); Wade Rosas (Katherine Camels). Outs: Brodhi Carracher.
Player to watch: Xavier Vickers, a second-year contested midfielder, ranked second in the club's best and fairest in 2022. Tackles well and should further improve off the back of exposure in seniors.
Coach's comment: "The second half of our year last year was an improvement on the first, hopefully we can keep tracking in that same direction. Hopefully we can be more competitive against the top handful of clubs." - Ben Kenna
Prediction: Sixth - Terang Mortlake's strides in 2022 and the personnel it added bodes well for a much-improved campaign.
Ins: Will Lord (Newtown and Chilwell); Rhys Jansen van Beek (Simpson); Nick Hooker, Heath Morgan-Morris, Ryan Warfe, Steven Lampton (NTFL); Ollie Everall (Russells Creek); Jack Dowd (South Rovers).
Outs: Bradley Bull (Allansford); Paddy Anderson (Sth W'Bool); Theo Opperman, Jason Rowan (Port Fairy); Josh Irving (Nirranda).
Player to watch: The Blues will lean into their outside run, with second-year senior player Lochie Worden giving this group pace.
Coach's comment: "We'll learn as much about ourselves as the opposition learns about us early in the season. We don't expect to be at our best at the start of the season... (but) we're going out to win every game of football we play in." - Dan O'Keefe
Prediction: Fifth - The Blues are major wildcards under a new game-plan, but were a fair bit off other finals teams in 2022.
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