Northern Jets coach Josh Avis believes the upcoming season is make or break time for his playing group.
The Jets were one of the Farrer League improvers last year, climbing to fifth spot only for COVID-19 to spoil what was going to be the club's return to finals for the first time in five years.
It has been a quiet off-season out at Ardlethan and Ariah Park with the Jets yet to land any signings, nor lose any players, as they continue to focus on locals.
Avis, who will enter his third year and second season as coach, believes it is crunch time for the Jets.
"We've maintained pretty well, which was our goal. We're trying to look more local than look abroad so that's paid off for this year. We worked on keeping our base and from the conversations I and the other recruiters have had, everyone is on board and everyone is keen for this year," Avis said.
"I think they're all at a spot where they can see we're at a tipping point. We're either going to push or we're going to crumble. We're hoping it's push.
"We've done a bit of stuff over the off-season, we did some trainings before Christmas and had some relatively good numbers. We hit it a little bit, nothing consistently or serious in terms of stringing a pre-season together but we tried to keep in touch and do something here or there."
The Jets were to kick off pre-season training formally on Friday but have postponed that until next week due to the death of club long-time supporter and premiership player Frank Gaynor, whose funeral is the same day.
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While boasting the same squad as last year, Avis said the Jets were still looking to strengthen up in one or two areas.
"We're trying to chase a centre-half-back. We identified our backline is probably a bit short," he said.
"We relied on young Nathan Tyce to do the bulk of our centre-half-back work and he did a massive job but we'd like to release him a little bit more. It would then allow us to release Brad McKinnon a little bit more and Mal Douglas.
"You put Nathan on the centre-half-forward and then match ups take away that drive. Last year was such a year for forwards so it took away that drive a little bit that we were wanting. I'm not saying we did a terrible job but that's something we've identified that we want a little bit more of.
"Like everyone we're always after another midfielder just to create another rotation, just a little bit more depth. We tested our depth extensively last year, I think we had 41 players or something silly like that that played first grade. We used every bit of depth we had last year."
Avis said the Jets will remain focused on keeping the group as local as possible, something that worked for them last year.
"We're not stirring the pot too much in Canberra at all. Our philosophy is more about numbers to training because that builds that group, you click and things happen," he said.
"The middle part of the season last year we showed that really worked for us and then a few injuries caught up with us. That's our philosophy so we're sticking with that as much as possible."
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