Tipped to be in the relegation hot seat from the get-go, Avondale Heights managed to survive the drop with four wins proving enough to finish ninth on the table in 2019.
In crucial late season games against Essendon Doutta Stars and the eventually-relegated Airport West, the Heights scored some hard-fought wins when it mattered most.
Finishing ninth for points-scored, the Heights struggled to find consistent avenues to goal, costing them dearly in a handful of close games throughout the year.
BEST & FAIREST TOP FIVE
1st - Donnacadh Cleary
2nd - Connor Byrne
3rd - Jackson Robb
4th - Matthew Cravino
5th - Justin Morris
GOAL KICKING TOP FIVE
18 - Hisham Kerbatieh*
18 - Justin Morris
15 - Sean Bolger
14 - Brad Robb
11 - Matthew Borg
AGA APPRENTICESHIPS PLUS RISING STAR AWARD
*players not returning in 2020
Coach: Patrick Byrne (1st season, replacing Donald McDonald)
LIST CHANGES / LODGED TRANSFERS
In: Muhammad Saad (Macleod), Josh Robinson (London Swans), Matthew Darby (Riddell), Danko Bzenic (Montmorency), Dominic Makur (Mallee Eagles), Jayden Defina (Yarraville Seddon) & Matthew Chisari (Bacchus Marsh)
Out: Hisham Kerbatieh (Hillside), Scott Harding (Taylors Lakes), Cory Lobb (Noosa), Luke Edwards (Morningside), Adam Harris (Keilor Park), Jordan Filakis (Woodend-Hesket) & Jake Scardamaglia (Braybrook)
EDFL MEDIA SAYS
It's been tough slogging for Avondale Heights in recent years after last making the finals in 2014, but as shown in some crucial games late last year, this is a side with plenty of heart and plenty of promise.
At just 22-years-old, Donnacadh Cleary produced an outstanding season and earned a VFL gig with Coburg, but he won't be the only VFL-calibre player on the Heights' list this year, with new arrivals Muhammad Saad, Matthew Darby and Danko Bzenic all adding some extra class to the line-up as well.
Under a first-year coach in Patrick Byrne, the Heights will enter the new season with tempered expectations, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't still be aiming to significantly improve on their ninth-placed finish from 2019.