Wangaratta Rovers have vowed to stick with local content after re-signing co-coaches Sam Carpenter and Ross Hill.
“They’re developing a young list and we’re happy to keep building with them and they’re passionate,” Hawks’ president Andrew Smith said.
“They’ve got the club’s best interests at heart, so we’re happy to keep going forward with them.”
Rovers have changed their recruiting philosophy in recent years.
In 2012, the club signed Barry Hall and his clash with another former AFL star in Brendan Fevola’s Yarrawonga attracted around 6000 fans to the WJ Findlay Oval.
It was the equivalent of two years home games for the Hawks.
The club then signed ex-Hawthorn player Jarrad Boumann, former St Kilda forward Daniel Archer and one-time Western Bulldog James Mulligan for the 2014 season.
The club fell in the first semi-final to Lavington.
Smith says the Hawks have deliberately since moved away from profile signings.
“To be honest, it didn’t sit that well with the (playing) group, so you’ve got to listen to what your shareholders are saying,” he said.
The lower-profile Hawks have now won 12 of their 51 games in the past three years.
“Our mandate is definitely a high percentage of local bases, we see that’s the only way the competition will go forward in the future,” Smith said.
“People want to come to a football game and see some local names, you’ve got to have a local connection, otherwise, I don’t believe you have anything.
“It’s definitely been our ethos and the way we want to go forward.”
However, Smith admits the club is targeting a handful of recruits.
“We’re not far away (from being competitive), I think if we can top up with a couple of players, it would make a big difference,” he said.
The Hawks have won two games, with the last realistic hope of another against North Albury in round 18.
Rovers would give themselves a chance though when they travel to Myrtleford on Saturday.
It’s the only game of the round which has no bearing on the top five, so desperation will play a massive role.
The Hawks have lost forward Chris Knowles and he impressed against the classy Wangaratta in round 13.
The Saints will again look to long-time gun midfielder Brad Murray to shine as a forward.
Murray kicked a career-high eight goals against the Roos.