GARY Breakspear will be the first to admit his first year as coach of the Albion Park-Oak Flats Eagles had its ups and downs.
One of the ups were defeating perennial powerhouse Gerringong at Michael Cronin Oval - a win that gave his team the 'confidence' to succeed in this competition, but ultimately, the year ended in a low, as the Eagles missed out on semi-final football.
"While we had our highs as a club last year, the biggest challenge for first grade last year was depth," Breakspear said.
"At one stage, out number nine jersey was cursed - as three straight injuries, including two broken arms, occurred in that jumper.
"Thankfully, we were able to blood a number of under 18s players in first grade, which helped the depth problem to an extent."
Breakspear, who admits he learnt a lot on his debut season, has addressed his depth issues by adding players such as Kiama's Brent Wake and Collegians' Rod Coates, as well as a number of others from Group 16.
"[Brent] Wakey hasn't missed a beat since his joined the club - he's got a point to prove this season," Breakspear said.
Following this weekend's trial match at Centenary Field, Breakspear's troops will continue to work hard at training, ahead of their opening round match with the Stingrays.
"Everyone has been ripping in at training, which has really impressed me," he said.
"In particular, Drew Butterfield and Josh Sainsbury has been training the house down and are set for big years on the park."
While Breakspear knows his team will continue to build on last year, they all know what the goal is for this season.
"Finals is 100 per cent a goal of ours, one which we know we are more than capable of," he said.
"With what we've done and the players we've got, if you haven't set a bar at least on making finals, you're wasting your time really."