Key forward Lucas Anderson and versatile backman Ben Hayes have joined the list of departures from Lake Wendouree.
These loses follow other key players including star Nick Peters, who has returned to former club Warrack Eagles in the Wimmera competition, and Isaac Kirby and Liam Findlay, who have informed the Lakers of their desire to travel during 2018.
Anderson has confirmed a move to Geelong league reigning premiers St Joseph's.
The target forward missed a large part of 2016 with a bad knee injury, but returned in devastating fashion last season to help the Lakers reach a Ballarat Football League preliminary final.
Anderson kicked 57 goals during the campaign.
A premiership player in 2010, Hayes has left Lake Wendouree for his junior club Beaufort, which is looking to go one better than its Central Highlands league grand final defeat in 2017.
Lakers president David Clifton conceded the departures were significant, believing the club had now lost “three of its best five players” during the off-season.
But Clifton remained upbeat ahead of what will be Dale Power’s first season as Lake Wendouree senior coach.
“It’s far from doom and gloom, we’ve just got to reload a little bit into the senior football side,” he said.
Peters, Anderson and Hayes finished as the club’s three leading vote-getters in last season’s Henderson Medal count.
Power has taken over at the helm from Tim Malone, who has decided to stand down from the role after leading the team in 2017.
Malone has indicated that he plans to play with the Lakers next season.
Power is the former Beaufort senior coach, who developed Rohan Brown before handing him the Crows’ job at the end of the 2016 campaign.