MYRTLEFORD and Corowa-Rutherglen are closing in on their first practice matches with respective coaches Jake Sharp and Marc Almond both confident of improvement this year.
They spoke to The Border Mail's BRETT KOHLHAGEN this week about their pre-seasons and what lies ahead.
Profiles on Lavington, Wodonga, Yarrawonga, Albury, Wangaratta and Wangaratta Rovers will be published over the next three weeks.
The season gets underway on March 28 with Albury hosting Wodonga Raiders.
Pre-season so far: The Saints have added another night a week to their training schedule.
They have been doing three sessions during February with the extra run being based on game plan, structures and education.
Matt Dussin and Mitch Dalbosco will captain the side with Elijah Wales, Riley Sharp, Tom McDonagh and Ryan Crisp in the leadership group.
Liam Harrington has stepped down from the role due to family commitments.
In a huge plus for the Saints, Myrtleford has retained all of its top-age under-18 premiership players from last season.
"That's been huge for the club," coach Jake Sharp said.
"It's great for the club to have so many good kids pushing through."
Three Myrtleford players - Charlie Crisp, Declan Bren and Dom Bedendo - are training with the Murray Bushrangers.
Who's running hot: Luke Quirk has improved his fitness base with a strong pre-season.
He performed well in the club's intra-club last weekend and looks to have taken his game to another level.
Myrtleford and Melbourne-based players took part in the match with recruit Taylor Hunt showing plenty of class.
Frazer Dale is back training hard after a two-year break while Hugh Wales and Malachi Owers have presented well.
The burning question: While Dawson Simpson has been recruited primarily as a ruckman, if he can mark inside 50-metres the Saints will be even more dangerous.
Myrtleford is thrilled with the way Dawson has fitted in at McNamara Reserve with the former GWS player making a seamless transition to the country lifestyle.
Injured list: Riley O'Shea has undergone a knee reconstruction and hopes to be back late in the home and away series.
He went down in last year's finals series.
New faces: Dawson Simpson (GWS), Taylor Hunt (Old Collegians), Liam Hood (DMB), Lachie Gougan (Wangaratta), Lachie Pember (Western Australia) Frazer Dale (out of retirement)
Recruiting status: Liam Hood signed recently to top off the Saints' list.
Practice matches: Lavington (March 7 at Myrtleford), Euroa (March 21 at Euroa)
Pre-season so far: Joe Hansen and Jamie Seymour have been appointed co-captains with Tyson Logie stepping into the vice-captain's role.
Hayden Filliponi voluntarily stepped down from the captaincy but will remain in the leadership group along with James O'Connell and Jared Lane.
"We think the leadership group has a really good mix," coach Marc Almond said.
"There is some experience and one or two young players as well.
"They are doing a great job."
Hanson has joined in full training after undergoing a shoulder reconstruction at the end of last season.
The Roos' pre-season has been driven largely by the playing group in Almond's third pre-season at the helm.
Who's running hot: Tyson Logie finished runner-up in the club's best and fairest last season and is flying on the track.
Was used through the ruck in 2019 but can play a variety of roles.
Cameron Wilson has set himself up for a big season while expect to see youngster Jed Longmire make his debut at John Foord Oval.
The burning question: How many goals key forwards Damian Cupido and Trent Castles kick is going to be a talking point throughout the season? A combined total of 80 would seem a reasonable return for the Roos investment.
Injured list: The Roos are in good shape injury-wise. Cody Parker has done a full pre-season after managing only one game last season due to a neck injury.
New faces: Trent Castles (Yackandandah), Damian Cupido (Henty), Damien Wilson (Rutherglen), Cameron Wilson (Murray Bushrangers), Russell Cowan (Bairnsdale), Cody Howard (CDHBU), Chris Willis (Henty)
Recruiting status: Almond is still trying to bolster the club's depth but the bulk of the heavy work has been done with Howard the latest addition.
Practice matches: Mangoplah Cookardinia United Eastlakes (March 5), Lower Plenty (March 14), Nathalia (March 21)