The sight of star players Pat McMahon and Mitch Greaves stretching out to quinella a time trial at pre-season training has the Maitland Saints coaches Ben Stewart and Dustin Spriggs excited two months out from the start of the season.
The two former best and fairest winners, who are still both just 23, were plagued by injury in Maitland's disappointing 2019 season.
"It makes a difference. This time last year they were both injured, they were injured the whole pre-season, they were injured at the start of the season," Stewart said after a solid session involving the Saints men's and women's squads.
"We didn't get much out of them to round six, seven or eight.
Two past best and fairest winners being fit will be very handy, it's a really good sign.
"They are both just 23, they've got five years of top footy or more ahead of them and we've got a great crop of young players to come up and play with them."
Stewart and Spriggs are looking to build on a strong finish to last season after a disastrous start when an injury-depleted and young team was smashed losing their opening six games.
While the Saints have a hugely talented group of young players coming through, they are looking to boost their squad with the addition of Victorian Zack Short and Queenslander Brenton Ogiville who have both moved to the Hunter with the ADF.
Short is a key defender from Maryborough in Victoria and Brenton Ogeville who played with Army in the Queensland competition is a key forward or ruckman.
"They are important additions and also bring a lot of knowledge and experience which is a really valuable for a young team," Spriggs said.
Spriggs and Stewart admit they are far more comfortable in their roles after last season and were looking forward to working with the exciting group of young talent coming through the club.
"We've got five or six juniors coming through. The majority of those played seniors last year but we will have them full-time this year," Stewart said.
"Wally Pankhurst, Trevon Bob, Matty Guy, Sam Jordan all played senior footy were hoping to get Bailey Challen back as well.
"We are also expecting top-end under-17 players Jack Ellis and Ollie Latter to get a run this year.
"There will be seven or eight players coming through, whether they play all at once or not is really up to their form. There are very positive signs.
"They are young but with the boys coming through they are all getting games into them. In a couple of years we are going to have a core of young players who have 100 to 150 games under their belt."
Spriggs invited any prospective players to come along to training on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6pm.
"We've had a lot of players successfully move from other sports to AFL. Recently young Isaiah Ryan joined us from the Mustangs," Spriggs said.
"We have two senior teams so you are going to get a game."