Ararat is putting added emphasis on home-grown talent in 2021, with a senior team largely comprising of players who have come through the club's junior grades.
Ararat has fallen in the preliminary final of the Wimmera Football League each of the past two seasons.
While the Reserves triumphed over Horsham to win the premiership in 2019, the Seniors have been waiting to lift the trophy since 2001.
The team almost made repeated the feat in 2002, only to be denied by a Warrack Eagles side coached by Matthew Walder.
Walder is now coaching Ararat. With a squad containing several players too young to remember the Seniors' last premiership, Walder is eager for the team to make its own history.
"We've got a big band of local players and there will be plenty of opportunities given to them," he said.
"Bringing young players through is always a focus. Ararat has always been strong in the junior grades and is always reasonably strong in the Under 17s.
"There has always been that pathway, but there will be even more emphasis this year due to the fact we've lost a lot of experience.
"It's a positive. It will be a young developing group but a group that doesn't know how far they can go yet, so that's an exciting position for the club to be in."
Walder highlighted several youngsters who will be taking the next step at the club in 2021, including Jeziah Woods, Flynn Toner, Thomas Cousins, Brody Griffin, Luke Spalding, and Henry Shea, who was recently selected for Greater Western Rebels Victoria Under 17 team.
Walder said he was eager to see competitive football underway again after its prolonged absence.
"We're all looking forward to getting back into it after such a long break," he said.
"It's a good thing for us players, but also for everyone off the ground."
Club president David Hosking also said returning to play would be invaluable to the players.
"It's good to get young men and women out playing sport again," he said.
"It's had a massive impact on their social life and their mental health, so it will just be good for them to get out and have life getting back to normal again."
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