In its 41-year history in the league, Lavington has never won successive titles. Can it build on last year's flag?
Nico Sedgwick, Luke McLellan (Brock Burrum), Isaac Lampe (Holbrook), Cody Mannagh (Thurgoona), Jono Male (Henty), Harry Weaven (Jindera), Nick Perryman (Collingullie Glenfield Park)
Ethan Bakic, Callum Pattinson (North Albury), Elijah Amery (Wangaratta Rovers) Kai Davies (South Warrnambool), Logan Hamilton (Holbrook), Jimmy Oeser (Culcairn), David Goodwin (Chiltern)
Shaun Mannagh (Werribee)
WILL THE RECRUITMENT OF PERRYMAN AND SEDGWICK COVER MANNAGH?
No. The introduction of the player points system in 2016 means clubs don't have the depth of stars they once did, so there's less match-winners per side. Shaun Mannagh was the league's best match-winner. The new pair will have an impact, but they won't kick five goals in a grand final.
CAN AIDAN JOHNSON GO TO ANOTHER LEVEL?
If he does, he'll be in the best five players. He only turned 20 on March 9 so it was remarkable to see a teenager have such a massive impact in his debut season. He kicked 53 goals in 21 games and took a match-defining mark in the grand final. Johnson has returned in super nick, so there's seemingly no chance he will suffer the second-season syndrome.
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COULD THE PANTHERS LACK MOTIVATION AFTER LAST YEAR?
If Wangaratta is anything to go by, then yes. The Pies have fallen at the final hurdle in the past two grand finals - largely on the back of slow starts - after landing one of the biggest upsets against Albury in 2017. You never know until the early rounds if there's a premiership hangover, but the inside word at Lavington is the players loved last year's upset so much, there's no chance they'll relax.
COULD A SOFT START MAKE 'LAVI' COMPLACENT?
Possibly. The premiers have the easiest start of any finals contender. They face what is expected to be the bottom three in Wodonga, Corowa-Rutherglen and North Albury. Of course, what goes up must come down so they then face the other six genuine finals contenders from round four. Now, that's a brutal run.
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Q&A with Tom Hargreave
Q: Wangaratta had beaten you by an average of 28 points in your three meetings last year before the grand final, but you blew the Pies away in the first quarter to lead by 41 points, how did you do it?
We had nothing to lose really and I think it was just a whole lot of pressure and we went for it.
Q: You had a number of tricks for the Pies, including playing Nick Meredith up forward and Luke Garland in the midfield.
Simon's (Simon Curtis) coaching was unreal. We kept a lot of things to ourselves throughout the year and played a few blokes in different positions, which caught them off guard I think. Credit to Simon and his coaching staff, they were awesome for us.
Q: A number of clubs suffer premiership hangovers, why do you think that won't happen to Lavington?
We've still got a lot of drive in the club and we're still relatively young too. Nick Holman obviously retired, but we still have the desire to go again.
Q: Shaun Mannagh played with Richmond in the VFL last year, but has moved to Werribee where he's expected to be a full-time player, is he irreplaceable?
He's a bloody good player isn't he? He's definitely on another level than us. We've got Nick Perryman and 'Sedgie' (Nico Sedgwick) as well, who can play midfield, but obviously Shaun's an incredible player and so he's pretty hard to replace.