THE 2020 Group Seven Rugby League season could represent the start of a new era for the Warilla-Lake South Gorillas.
A number of their loyal stalwarts, such as Aaron Henry, Tyson Brown and Chad Lisch have all moved on - meaning the keys to the side are in the hands of their young brigade.
These prospects include Gorillas juniors, including Sam Hooper, Duke Grant and Callum Gromek (all who helped the club win the under 18s premiership in 2019) and the returning Blair Grant and Blake Dowel.
In addition to that quintet is Albion Park-Oak Flats playmaker Jake Brisbane, who comes to the Gorillas fresh off a stint with the St George Illawarra's Jersey Flegg outfit.
"The youth in the team is only going to benefit us in the long run, as the energy is contagious," Brisbane said
"If we can keep this squad together, I have no doubt we will have success for years to come.
"Personally, playing with the Dragons was very beneficial to my game.
"It helped develop my composure with the footy and taught me the importance of doing all the little things right."
During the 2019 season, which also saw Brisbane make a handful of appearances for Gary Breakspear's Eagles, he played alongside Grant at the Dragons.
As this halves duo struck up such positive partnership, they wanted to continue to play together in the future - leading to Brisbane joining the Cec Glenholmes Oval-based club, which will be co-coached by Blair's father Troy (alongside Neil Farmilo) in 2020.
"I decided early this year to make the change, as I've known Troy for a really long time and thought he could have a positive impact on my footy career moving forward," the 20-year-old, who admits the new coaches have brought fresh positivity to the squad, said.
"I see Blair and I being the long-term halves at Warilla, as we both compliment each other well.
"We have played together and against each other for years and know how each other play - we both have trust in each other's game, which will benefit the whole side."
The start of the duo's partnership in blue and gold has been delayed though, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I was really disappointing to have the season postponed, as I was itching to get out there for the new club," he said.
"During the lockdown, I stayed fit my doing my own fitness sessions at home."
Thankfully for Brisbane and his side, which also includes recruits Dean Hodgson, Justin Jones and Blake Barbuto, they returned to training last week.
"Getting back on the training paddock last week was great," Brisbane, who won the 2018 Bill James under 18s Player of the Year after guiding the Eagles to the undefeated premiership, said.
"It was awesome to be back around the boys, while also seeing a number of new faces at the club - it was a really promising turnout."
This was the first of five weeks of training the club will have before they return to the field on the weekend of July 18 and 19, marking the start of the title assault.
"The strengths of our side this year is everyone's work ethic and willingness to put the hard yards in," Brisbane, who admits his previous first grade experience at the Park will be beneficial, said.
"Everyone is putting in, to try and get the best out of each other.
"If we continue to do this and produce consistent week-to-week performances, I can't see why we can't achieve our team goal of first making the semi-finals and then pushing on to win the competition."