The Rock-Yerong Creek are comfortable that a combination of off-season signings and the return of under 17s at the Magpies will offset their key departures for 2018.
TRYC announced in August that they’d be fielding an under 17s team for the first time since 2010 and – with pre-season training soon to get underway – it will add another element to their preparations.
“We’re really excited about the 17s and the enthusiasm they’ll bring to training,” under 17s coach David Pieper said. “We’ve got a few young blokes in the seniors but having the 17s is going to be a big bonus for us. There’s a few who are really good players, a couple will be pushing for senior spots.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to play a fair few of them through the seniors and give them a bit of experience.”
Pieper said TRYC has numbers for a team but any newcomers looking for a game with the club will also be more than welcome.
The Magpies are going to train in Wagga one night a week for the first six to eight weeks of pre-season, with Apex Park booked for Wednesday nights from January 17.
Senior coach Tom Yates said the change will ‘freshen up’ their start to the year and confirmed the club has youthful outlook.
“We were chasing a bit more youth this year, so we can grow going forward,” he said. “And obviously the 17s is going to be massive for the club.”
The Pies recruits include Jim Carroll, Ben Farrell, Lachie Myers and Sam Lucas but they lose some height in Sam Durnan and Ferg Inglis while some experience disappears with the departures of Andrew Saddler and Luke Hillier.
“Those blokes will all be missed, all four of them brought different aspects to the club,” Yates said.
“But the blokes we’ve got, we’re definitely very happy with. We’ve recruited a bit of youth and speed.”
Yates is predicting another even competition. He expects premiers Marrar and runners-up Temora to be tough to beat although North Wagga’s active off-season caught the eye.
The Pies aren’t actively pursuing further signings but Yates hasn't given up on a late arrival.
“If someone else waltzes through the door, that’d be handy but at the same time we’re happy with what we’ve got, and the 17s on board opens the door for us a bit.”
Their first night of pre-season is Monday January 15, at The Rock.