The Northern Jets say they're balancing the arrival of some gun players for a shortened Farrer League season with the need to look after the club's long-term prospects.
The Jets have powered into premiership contention following the cancellations of other competitions.
Hot on the heels of NEAFL star Mitch Maguire's return (along with his Canberra Demons teammate and fellow midfielder Nick Eynaud), the Jets have welcomed back Adam and Lachie Flagg from Wodonga Raiders.
"It's only because of the situation we're in (with coronavirus) but they're quite often back here and they're good local boys so it's good," Jets' vice-president Andrew Clark said.
A super fit Lachie was third in the Raiders' best-and-fairest count last year while forward Adam has proven himself in the Ovens and Murray League since 2013 (and spent 2015 in the SANFL reserves).
The Jets have also signed former Temora midfielder Tim McAuley, who was at Yarrawonga last year, as well as Finley forward Matthew Jackson, the son of former Jets coach Darren Jackson.
"We've definitely tried before but nothing's happened but Marcus has been around the club a bit the last few years and so his brother was keen to come up too," Clark said.
The Jets also spoke with North Albury coach Isaac Muller. A clearance to the Jets has been denied for the big man (who also played a one-off VFL game for Frankston last year) but his playing future is unclear.
For a club that struggled to put two grades on the field last year, Clark said it's been bizarre to have players knocking down the door to come and play. But he insists they won't take a short-sighted approach.
"We, as all other clubs are, are concerned and we'll be extremely thoughtful about giving our young ones a run. We don't want to damage our own club in the process of picking up these other players," Clark said.
"There's been a couple of names that we've had to say no to."
The Northern Riverina League's hibernation has also helped the Jets add to their depth. A team that already included two-time league medallist Mitch Haddrill, former coach Sam Fisher, and representative forward Matt Wallis will be one to be reckoned with.
For new Jets coach Josh Avis, it's been a wild year to take on a senior coaching role. He echoes Clark's point about the club decisions.
"We've been thrown a lot of names, a lot of guys are looking for clubs," Avis said.
"We're trying to steer away from too many imports and focus on the guys that have played juniors with us or have a connection here.
"We've got a lot of young kids who have turned up and trained with us and we don't want to turn them away because at the end of the day those kids are what make our club and what will keep us going into the future.
"As fantastic as this year is going to be for the standard of footy, I think there'll be some people with a sour taste in their mouth at the same time so it is a balancing act between bringing fantastic talent in and managing the current list."
The Jets will have a pre-season hit-out against Narrandera on July 11. Avis won't play due to a recent melanoma removal but hopes to be fit for round one at North Wagga.
Amid a dramatic last few weeks, Avis said he is excited about what the incoming talent can offer, beginning with Maguire.
"Everyone speaks very highly of him and I've seen a little bit of footage of him playing footy and he's a ball-magnet," he said.
"I think someone with his quality in your team can only have benefits. I always go back to how it can benefit the young kids and to have someone like him to shadow or to talk with, it can only benefit our club let alone the results on game day.
"So I'm really excited for him to come back and have a run."
Avis believes the influx of talent across the league will be exciting for supporters, although the July 1 news of a 500-person limit at grounds could be cause for concern.
"With all these blokes coming back from higher leagues, I think we're going to see a standard of football we probably haven't seen for a long time," Avis said.
"It's got the potential to be a bit of a spectacle. Hopefully the crowds can get down and watch them. Hopefully it will be a season to talk about in years - 'remember that year when all these blokes were playing'. It'll be pretty special I think."
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