WANTIRNA South had a specific criteria for its recruits heading into the 2013 Eastern Football League season.
Any recruit had to be super fit, be a leader, a good person and have proven skills.
Devils coach Matt Clark has no doubt he can say that about the club's main recruits — two-time best-and-fairest Brad Hutchinson from Stony Creek, skilled midfielder Luke Smith from Mansfield, and Sam Purdon.
Former Devils premiership player Troy Tranter has also returned to the club in a non-playing assistant coaching role.
Clark said returning former players added much-needed leadership to the team. "Both Hutchinson and Smith are super fit but most importantly with such a young side, we wanted to add leadership on the ground and add a few voices on the field," he said.
Clark said Hutchinson and Smith were in the prime of their careers and looked excellent in training.
The Devils made a strong finish last season with their young side finding form midway through the year. They have retained the vast majority of their side.
Clark said he wasn't out to chase down too many recruits as he focused on game time and resources to develop his young side.
"We were never going to go out and get 10 or 20 players," Clark said. "We wanted quality and if we could get four or five good players we would be happy; we think we are close on one or two more recruits then that will be it.
"We are again hell-bent on developing our youth and we told the players that at the start of preseason training."
Veteran Devil Paul Cameron is also back training with the side but Clark is not putting any pressure on the two-time premiership player this season, instead waiting to see how he stands up to the preseason training program.
The Devils return to full training on January 30 and the EFL season begins on April 13 with the Devils facing Glen Waverley Hawks at Capital Reserve.