Two months after the heartache of losing the Bendigo football grand final by a goal, Sandhurst kickstarted what it hopes will be a successful 2024 campaign.
The Dragons hit the pre-season training track at Ewing Park and first impressions for the coaching staff were positive.
"The boys are pretty hungry, it was great to see them so eager to get back into it,'' Sandhurst co-coach Bryce Curnow said.
"The club has an unbelievable culture and that's kept the playing group together.
"The hunger is there and a lot of the boys look extremely fit. It's a positive, healthy environment to have and it means that some us older boys, or some players that have played senior footy for a while, can't be comfortable.
"The first night we had 52 players on the track and about 20 apologies, which was fantastic."
Sandhurst was the top team for much of 2023, but just fell short against old foe Golden Square in the grand final.
Curnow said the grand final result was yet to be spoken about by the coaches.
"We certainly haven't mentioned it yet, purely out of respect we have a lot of juniors, under-18s and reserves players there,'' Curnow said.
"As time goes on we'll mention it, address it and learn from it.
"We don't want to hide from it, but there's no need to go through it with a fine tooth comb either."
Curnow and co-coach Ashley Connick are taking a different approach to pre-season training this summer.
"We're going to focus on role specificity,'' Curnow said.
"Pre-season is about 20 weeks - four weeks now, four weeks off and then about 12 weeks before practice games and round one.
"About eight to 10 of those weeks will revolve around one-on-one or small groups where Ash and I can split our coaching time.
"One night I might focus on the key talls, while Ash takes the rest of the group. [Assistant coach] Lachlan Tardrew might take the midfielders while we're doing separate things.
"We want people trained up in certain areas rather than just training for the sake of it."
Much of the interest over the pre-season will be the form of Sandhurst's swag of key position players.
The addition of former AFL forward Fergus Greene, North Hobart key defender Matt Campbell and Mt Pleasant premiership defender/forward Will Wallace gives the Dragons a deep and classy group of key position players.
Two players who weren't in Sandhurst's senior grand final side - ruckman Connor Sexton and key position player Sean O'Farrell - were the standout performers on the track in week one and they look like pushing for regular senior footy in 2024.
"It's a good problem to have,'' Curnow said of Sandhurst's talls.
North Melbourne VFL-listed midfielder/defender Cooper Smith will miss the bulk of pre-season after undergoing shoulder surgery.