The return of young gun Matt Denham has warmed the hearts at Ballarat Football League club Bacchus Marsh.
Denham participated n the Cobras' intra club match earlier this week, his first major hit-out since suffering a major knee injury last pre-season.
As a result, the clever utility missed the Cobras' entire 2015 campaign, having returned to the club after a one-year stint playing in Canberra in the North East Australian Football League.
Bacchus Marsh club president Adam Sutherland said watching Denham return to the field was a sight for sore eyes.
"I might be a bit biased, but I reckon he's a star," Sutherland told The Courier.
"He played well in the intra club and just showed that vision and the skills that he has."
Joining Denham at the Cobras is returning key position player Rhys McNay, as well as talented left-footer Jadyn Trowsdale, who has made the shift from Western Region Football League club West Footscray.
They are set to complement the other additions to the group, including Daniel Burton, Luke Powell and Werribee rover Scott Sherlock.
SANFL player Brent Macleod has also applied for a clearance to the Cobras.
However, the goal-kicking midfielder is far from guaranteed to end up at the club due to personal circumstances.
Sutherland said Macleod would be a terrific addition to the club's playing list if he made the move from South Adelaide.
Despite the exit of 2015 leading goal kicker Peter Shepherd after just one season, Bacchus Marsh appears to be in a good position to end its finals drought.
Sutherland revealed the club had ramped up its pre-season training program this year and had high expectations of what it could achieve in 2016.
"We need to take the next step into finals – we expect to make them," Sutherland said.
"We've made incremental improvements over the last two years but we're aiming for finals this season."
However, the president was adamant that improvement would come primarily from within the club, rather than outside of it.
"We still have one of the youngest lists in the competition," Sutherland said.
"With youth, you don't know when they tap out. It'll be exciting to see what they can do with a bit more experience around them – hopefully they can capitalise and help us rise up the ladder."
Sutherland declared there were "three or four" youngsters who could make the jump into regular senior football action, including promising forward Kane White, who kicked four goals in three quarters against Lake Wendouree last season before injuring his posterior cruciate ligament.
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