Bridgewater has a new co-coach, a host of recruits and some familiar faces are back as the club pushes to return to the LVFNL finals.
Strathfieldsaye premiership player Jayden Donaldson has been appointed co-coach alongside his former Storm team-mate Dale Cameron.
After hanging up the boots at the end of 2018, Donaldson's premiership team-mate Tom Dowd has signed with the Mean Machine, while BFNL reserves leading goalkicker Josh Martyn is also on the move from Strathfieldsaye to Bridgewater.
The Mean Machine's midfield stocks have been bolstered by two new faces and the return of two club greats.
Mallee Eagles star Bo Alexander and Kangaroo Flat speedster Lloyd Needs have signed, while Bridgewater premiership heroes Zeb Broadbent and Marc Lindsay return after two years away from the club.
After a long and successful career with the Storm, Donaldson said the opportunity to have his first senior coaching appointment alongside one of his close friends in Cameron was too good to refuse.
"I've always had a close connection with Bridgewater, having had a lot of friends play footy and live out there,'' Donaldson said.
"I've coached some junior footy and been an assistant coach at Strathfieldsaye, so I saw this as an opportunity to take that next step as a coach and finish off my playing career alongside a few mates that I haven't had the chance to play with before."
It would be of no surprise to anyone at Strathfieldsaye that Donaldson sounded out Dowd for a return to footy.
The experienced left-footer will have a big impact in the LVFNL.
"When I made my mind up to join Bridgewater, Tom was the first person I called,'' Donaldson said.
"His leadership on and off the field is second to none with anyone I've played footy with.
"It took a little while to talk him out of retirement because I think he was getting comfortable with having a beer on the hill.
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"With such a young list Bridgewater was probably lacking some on-field leadership, so I think we've ticked that box with Tom, Zeb, Marc and I at the club."
From a playing point of view, Alexander might be the best recruit of the lot.
A former playing-coach of the Mallee Eagles, Alexander is a multiple Central Murray inter-league representative.
"Bo is an uncompromising, tough inside midfielder who is really fit,'' Donaldson said of his good mate.
"He'll give some protection to the young boys we have in the midfield and compliment them really well."
Donaldson said Martyn and Needs fill roles Bridgewater were lacking.
"Josh kicked 90-odd goals across reserves and senior footy for Strathfieldsaye this year,'' Donaldson said.
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"He averaged probably three-and-a-half goals per senior game and we expect him to have a big impact out there.
"Lloyd is an excitement machine with a lot of pace."
With a good crop of young players coming through, Donaldson said the Mean Machine were well placed to challenge the top sides in the LVFNL.
"One of our priorities was to maintain our current list and reward those boys for the hard work they've put in during the past couple of years,'' Donaldson said.
"The first thing we did was sign those players on and then look for where we had some holes.
"We're happy with the list we've got and we might have one or two more players to add at a later date."
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