Roxburgh Park is keen on ensuring it has the right balance of youth and experience as it heads into the unknown.

After winning their first senior premiership this year, the Magpies will play in Essendon District Football division 1 for the first time since the league moved to three divisions.

For Magpies coach Michael Farrelly, it’s an exciting challenge.

“We’re not going in talking about being a premiership contender,” he said.

“The big thing is personal development … we want to make sure we are getting better, whether win or lose. As long as we get better than the week before and continue to grow, we’ll be happy.”

The first step for the Magpies has been trying to keep their playing list intact.

They were successful in re-signing the whole premiership side from this year, while a number of under-19 players who will move up the ranks are also returning. In a bonus, most of the players who were part of the Magpies’ reserves grand final side are back on board.

Farrelly said they had half a dozen potential recruits training with the club who they were hoping would sign on in the near future.

The club has already announced the signings of some new players.

Jay Barbera, who comes from Northern Football League division 1 side Hurstbridge, is the biggest signing so far.

Barbera and Farrelly played together in a premiership for Hurstbridge in 2016, with Barbera finishing high in the club’s best-and-fairest that year.

“We’re good mates and he was looking for a fresh start,” Farrelly said.

“He came to us asking for an opportunity to start afresh and play somewhere different and wipe the slate clean.

“He’ll be a leader at the club. He works hard.”

Wally Abbouchi joins the club from the Northern Saints and will add another experienced leader to the side. This year he played against the Magpies and acted as a runner for their under-11 side.

The Magpies latest signing is Matt Barnes, who comes from Western Region Football League club Point Cook Centrals.

The Magpies have also added young talent, including Nathan McIntosh and Tylar Sorrentino, who are returning to the club.

Farrelly said all the new recruits wanted to have an immediate impact at the club.

Farrelly said the club was dealing with some off-field challenges.

“When you go up a division, the base wage goes up,” he said.

“With the salary cap higher in division 1, the club will be paying players more per game.

“The ability to recruit players is huge. We’re looking for more sponsors to get on board.”

The Magpies will start the season on April 6 against West Coburg.