Wangaratta's increased focus on local young talent is music to the ears of captain Lachlan Campbell.
The 23-year-old worked his way through miniroos and junior soccer at the club and is now one of the first names on the Division 1 men's team sheet.
Campbell's development at City has been aided by high-quality import players and recruits from around the region but the club will look closer to home in the 2022 AWFA season.
It's a move welcomed by Campbell, who's confident Wangaratta will remain a force to be reckoned with after finishing last year as joint-champions.
"This year we are promoting a lot more junior players, stepping up and trying to get them involved and that's massive," Campbell said.
"There's not many other senior players who have come all the way through the ranks as a junior player, like myself, so it makes me feel a lot better seeing they are pushing for the juniors to come through.
"I know, in previous years, some people have said 'you're pushing too far outside of the club' but you can see why that has to be done sometimes.
"Sometimes there just aren't the numbers; after thirds, some of the boys decide to end up playing footy or they move away to university and it's only the people who want to stay and work in Wang, or the Albury-Wodonga region, that we can keep to play."
Winning has become a habit in recent seasons for Wangaratta, whose defence of their 2019 league-and-cup double looked set to go down to the wire last season after an almighty tussle with Albury United.
"Winning comes as a result of playing hard and training hard," Campbell said.
"In my first full year of seniors, which was 2018, I got runner-up best and fairest and that was a shock to me. I didn't see that coming.
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"Getting that really boosted me and the next year, when we won the league, I got best and fairest and it pushed me to train harder and do better every year."
Daniel Vasilevski is coaching the senior men's team again despite initially announcing he would be stepping aside for 2022 after the emotional toll of another COVID-affected season.
"Vasa's a great coach and a great bloke," Campbell said.
"We've still got a lot to learn from him. He's got a lot of experience and knowledge so it's great he's carrying on.
"Now that I'm stepping up as a coach (of the senior women's team), I'll be able to learn from him a lot more that way."
Centre-half Stoycho Ivanov and left-back Jordan Vellien have re-signed with the Devils, while former Murray United midfielder Josh Masters, now studying in Melbourne, is back at the club.
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