Riddell will follow the same philosophy in season 2017 that got it to last year’s Riddell District Football League grand final.

The Bombers put a heavy focus on youth last season and reaped the rewards, with the side coming from fourth on the ladder and within seven points of a premiership.

It took until extra time for Diggers Rest to get over the line against the Bombers.

Jamie Elliott, in his second year coaching Riddell, said a youth policy had again been on the agenda in the off season.

“We’ve had some ups and downs and still trying to finalise our list,” he said. “It’s been a little bit of a slow off season. We kept most of the kids. We wanted to consolidate and we’re now just plugging holes a bit.”

There have been some key departures for the Bombers.

Forward James Nolan has moved to the Northern Territory, while Jack Baker has gone to Gisborne and Cameron Casson to Sunbury Lions.

Elliott said there could be a couple more losses before the season starts. He said Brian Ruffell, and Brayden and Jason Allen were undecided about playing on.

“A few fellows are unsure if they are going on again,” Elliott said.

“Jimmy has gone to Darwin with his partner and he’s got a good opportunity up there.”

Elliott said that if Ruffell joined the other departees, there would be a potential overall loss of about 140 goals.

“It’ll then come back to coaching – if we’ve got a small line-up, we’ll play quick, or if we have talls, we’ll go longer,” he said.

Elliott said the Bombers would still have a really good small brigade, but they were looking for a couple more talls to complete the squad.

Ollie Messaoudi, who comes across from Gisborne, heads up the players the Bombers have brought in.

They include a couple of players with basketball backgrounds, while a few players from the under-18.5s will likely push for senior spots.

Elliott said the likes of the Walsh boys, Tim and Scott, and Matt Said had been among the standouts during training.

Lachie Henson and Matt Panuccio are a couple of the younger guys who are taking things to the next level.

The Bombers will start the season against Diggers Rest, in a rematch of last year’s grand final, on April 8.