The Rock-Yerong Creek co-coach Brad Aiken expects the Magpies to remain 'super competitive' despite a lack of off-season recruitment.
The Farrer League premiers have re-signed the majority of their list but are yet to add any new faces to their squad for 2024.
Nitschke-Schmidt Medallist for best-on-ground in the grand final, Liam Lupton, and Joey Hancock will both remain in Canberra next year and play with Eastlake.
Aiken explained the Magpies have deliberately shied away from finding replacements from Canberra as they look to transition their list to a more local base moving forward.
The Magpies hope that the club's youth can step up and improve to provide the necessary growth and improvement to be able to defend their Farrer League title.
"Obviously when you win a flag, everyone wants that mantle I guess, it's a nice mantle to have," Aiken said.
"East Wagga's probably going to take a lot of limelight away from us, which we're fine with. Losing Luppo and Joey Hancock obviously takes a little bit of quality and depth away from us but we're hoping some of our kids come on.
"A few of our boys that played in our twos flag, obviously they showed some character in winning the flag in the twos when no one thought we would. That's what I'm hoping for moving forward, especially for the future of the footy club.
"To be honest, I'm not sure whether the rest of the Canberra boys will be around after next year. We tried really hard to get some local flavour and obviously it wasn't to be."
The Magpies haven't given up on adding some more locals to their list.
"We've been still talking to a few local players that aren't committed to their clubs, or other clubs, but at the moment they're pretty adamant that they're not going to play," he said.
"At the moment, unless we went to Canberra again, that's probably it because it's so hard to recruit around here."
Aiken is confident there is improvement in the premiers.
"I hope so. When you look at our club as a whole and what we did this year with the amount of injuries we had to some of our top end players, I still think we've got a fair bit of growth in the group we've got," he said.
"Steelie missed six games, Matt Parks missed five games, Don Roberts missed six games, Dean Biermann missed probably 10 games.
"When you add that all in to what we did this year and if these guys are firing and playing all year and get some continuity going, James (Roberts) gets better again, Riley (Budd) hopefully gets better again, then you're forgetting about Tommy Yates, Stevo didn't play until halfway through the year. So I think with what we've got, we've got growth, it just depends on injuries and depth again and how our kids come on."
Aiken had no hesitation in conceding East Wagga-Kooringal, on the back of a phenomenal recruitment haul, will go into the season as favourites.
"I think we'll be up there and in the mix if we don't get too many injuries but who knows," he said.
"You don't know whos' going to recruit what late. You couldn't imagine East Wagga could recruit too many more, Marrar's obviously recruited a couple and will still be looking for a few more, Temora's obviously picked up a few. I think East Wagga's obviously going to be the yardstick.
"They played finals this year, they've recruited pretty heavily. I think depending on how (Jake) Barrett coaches them and how they adapt to how he coaches and the game plan that they play, you can add quality but if they don't gel together, it doesn't make any difference.
"I'm optimistic that we can be super competitive again with the list we've got, but who knows. You don't know how it's going to play out."