The Weston Bears are hopeful the signing of Dutch striker Moustafa Mohammad will sway prospective players to join the club for the 2022 season.
Mohammad is expected to join the club's preseason training in January after completing his Dutch playing commitments.
In other football news: Star striker Crowley returns to Maitland Magpies
Bears coach Leo Bertos said Weston's hopes of luring players out of the Newcastle bubble had been hampered by the premature end to the season and with it the club's push to make finals.
"The reality we face is that recruiting players from other club's in our competition is difficult unless we are seen as a finals and title contender," Bertos said.
"We need to have more success if we are going to attract more quality players to help us.
"It is far easier to move from one Newcastle club to another if you are looking for a change or chasing success as it's only another five minutes down the road.
"Players have to factor the extra travelling time to come out here and are you going to do that unless you are being offered the chance to compete for titles.
"No one can fault the reasons for ending the season early, but it was extremely disappointing for us as we had a great chance of making the finals and success there.
"That's the type of profile that attracts players, not being just outside the top five."
Bertos said he expected Mohammad to provide a major boost to the Bears who had no problems creating plenty of opportunities, but struggled to covert them.
"We feel like we create a lot of opportunities, but we don't seem to put them away. We need to find that person who likes to do that," Bertos said.
"If we can sprinkle in a couple of quality players in area we've identified then it can only help us."
Bertos said a positive start to next season was vital in 2022.
"We had a pretty messy start to the season just gone, to be honest," he said.
"We had three players in our first team leave for other clubs earlier in the season.
"I brought in a couple of players during the year as well and they really performed well, but they missed the first fire or six games and it hurt us.
"It is about having everyone keen and ready from the start so we can have a great start."
Bertos said the club was looking for maybe one more key player up front and to boost their defensive stocks.
"We are pretty happy with the overall make-up of the squad," he said. "We do play some quite good stuff the majority of matches. The big issue for us is that we haven't made it count.
"At the same time we've conceded far too many goals to be at what we feel is an appropriate level to compete for the title.
"Maybe one, maybe two defenders coming in will help."
Bertos is looking forward to improvement from within the squad and particularly excited about having Cooper Buswell available for a full season.
"Cooper Buswell will be one of the keys for us," he said.
"He missed the first 10 rounds of the season this year. He is an attacking midfield player, very creative with an eye for goal.
"Once he came back our results turned in a heartbeat. The influence he has is significant. Maybe if he was available earlier it could have been a very different season."
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