Darley is confident it has the right people in the right places to bring it back to the Ballarat Cricket Association finals.
After a disappointing 2018-19 season, the Lions have been busy behind the scenes to try and get things back on track.
New Lions coach Brian Wheelahan said the players had bought in to what they were trying to achieve.
“We have been going since the end of July,” he said.
“We’re excited to get the season under way. We’ve had terrific numbers, which we’re pretty rapt with, and we’re looking at having a fifth XI. It typifies the strength of the club at the moment.
“We’ve set standards for both at training and on ground and the boys are doing that and making my job easier.”
Wheelahan, who was assistant coach last season, said they had added depth to the top two sides.
The two big early signings were Anthony Taylor and Madushanka Ekanyaka.
Taylor comes across from Napoleans Sebastopol and is a wicketkeeper batsman who has played against the Lions in recent years.
Ekanyaka has dominated in recent years for Bacchus Marsh in the Gisborne and District Cricket Association and has been their leading wicket taker on multiple occasions.
Englishman Harry Killoran returns to the club for a second stint, having played with the club in 2015-16. The all rounder is expected to add some flexibility.
Ashley Appleby and Rahmatullah Khwaja have both come across from Werribee Centrals, while Hayden Jamieson and Jake Wilkie both return to the club having not played the past couple of seasons.
Big-hitting West Indian Danza Hyatt is also returning.
Wheelahan said they were happy with where things were sitting.
“We’ll have a balance of experience and the up-and-coming kids,” he said.
“There will be a filtering of kids through the lower grades.”
Joel Cadman, who played in the first XI last season is expected to take the next step and is likely to bat in the top four come round one.
Ryan Densley, James Martindale and Rockey Hoey are three up-and-coming players to keep an eye on.
Wheelahan said they were hoping they wouldn’t have the visa issues of last year, which affected their start to the season.
“Last year was super disappointing and we couldn’t get going for the first month,” he said.
“We had issues with the recruits and they arrived in round four or five. We didn’t deserve to play finals and the club knows that.
“Harry is arriving this week and Danza, at worse, will miss round one.”
The only confirmed out for Darley is former captain-coach Michael Alexander.
Wheelahan said Alexander was having a season off.
Wicketkeeper Dave Hoey is stepping back and will captain the third XI which will have a lot of kids in it.
Darley starts its season on October 5 against East Ballarat at home.