NEWLY-appointed Yarrawonga coach Mark Whiley is confident the club's stay outside the top-five will be short-lived.
With the Pigeons missing September for the first time since 2005 this year, the former AFL player wants an immediate response.
"I don't think we are that far off," Whiley said.
"We've missed Tyler Bonat, Brandon (Symes) and Isaac McMillan a lot this year.
"They are three pretty handy players.
"It's never as good as it seems and never as bad as it seems."
Whiley, who has spent the last two seasons as Damian Sexton's assistant, said his top priority over the next month would be stabilising Yarrawonga's list.
He expects few departures from J.C. Lowe Oval.
"Player retention from the young list we have is No.1 for us," he said.
"We have been pretty injury ravaged this year and the positive from that is we blooded a lot of kids.
"I see a lot of potential in them. Number one is getting them to stay and stick fat and then we will obviously look to recruit as well."
Whiley will be like a recruit himself after playing just 11 matches this season and eight last year due to hand and leg injuries.
He played 21 in 2017, winning Yarrawonga's best and fairest by a record 95 votes.
The ball-magnet believes he has served a strong apprenticeship under Sexton and is confident he can handle the pressures that come with coaching.
"It makes it a fair bit easier with so many good people at the club," he said.
"That's why I put my hand up.
"I've known 'Secco' a long time from Finley
"One thing about Damian is he's taught me about how to attack life and work.
"He gave me my first job when I was 14 or so working on one of his farms, because he's got so many of them, and we've always got on well."
Yarrawonga is sitting seventh on the ladder with a 6-10 win-loss record and play North Albury and Wangaratta Rovers in the final two rounds.