Myrtleford's under 18 coach Tristan Purss can't believe his team is just a win away from a grand final berth.
"I keep pinching myself that we go from being non-existent to now playing in a preliminary final," he said.
The junior Saints were forced to pull out of last year's competition with only seven players on the books.
"It's not just a result of our under 16s coming up, we've been fortunate enough to have some good recruits from Beechworth and Bright, basketball as well and kids that have returned to football," Purss said.
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"We've put a lot of work into trying to build around the 16s coming through and so far it's really worked."
The club's under 16s, 14s and 12 all finished minor premiers in the Wangaratta junior league last year.
Purss said first-year senior coach Jake Sharp has been enormous.
"He's engaging with juniors right from the grassroots level, he's doing a ton of work," he said.
"He's just a natural leader, the community support is back in the club and it's really vibrant."
First-year player Marcus LaSpina (basketball background), Dominic Bedendo and Ryley Forrest have been among the many stars.
The Saints meet Wodonga in Sunday's preliminary final.