It was only night one of pre-season training at Castlemaine Football Netball Club, but the signs were good that the Magpies will improve in 2024.
New senior coach Michael Hartley took charge for the first time of a keen group of predominantly younger players.
Hartley, who played 49 AFL games across stints with Essendon and Hawthorn, liked what he saw on night one.
"I was very excited to have my first session at the club,'' he said.
"We had about 35 players there which was a nice start and we'll have our Melbourne-based players there each Wednesday which will raise the quantity and quality of training.
"We need to work on our skills, it's going to take some time, but the group is keen to put the work in."
Hartley is attempting to develop a club that hasn't won more than two games in a season since 2016.
He said his pre-season focus was on ball work and competitive sessions rather than just pounding the pavement for fitness.
"I feel as though if guys are doing full-ground drills and chasing the footy, then they're going to run hard anyway,'' Hartley said.
"We'll try to get as much running done as possible in drills rather than just running for the sake of running.
"If drills aren't done up to standard then we'll absolutely be running."
Former BFNL inter-league representative Kal Huntly was a welcome sight at training for the Magpie faithful.
Huntly and John Watson's leadership with the younger players was on display at training.
The development of young players is high on Hartley's agenda.
"We had more young blokes than senior players at the first session, so those younger guys are already one step ahead of the senior players that weren't there,'' he said.
"I don't know many players at all yet, so everyone is new to me, but it's great to see the young guys so keen.
"They're going to put pressure on senior players for spots and if you're not working hard you'll miss out."
The Castlemaine FNC women's team also started their pre-season campaign on Monday night.
The Central Victorian Football League Women reigning premiers had a skills session under the watchful eye of coach Jordan Cochrane.
"There's a good vibe going around the club at the moment,'' Castlemaine FNC president Caleb Kuhle said.
"We're heading in the right direction."