NICK O’Kearney, Mick Tanner, Sam Hooper, Jay White and Kieran Bell.
They were the five Keilor top-line players who failed to get to the starting line for last year’s Strathmore Community Bank Premier Division Grand Final.
During the decider, which the Blues lost by 61 points, both Dean Galea and David Gourdis also suffered injuries, further dampening what was already a bitter end to Keilor’s once promising 2018 campaign.
“I would have liked a fit compliment of players at the pointy end of the season, but that’s footy,” coach Mick McGuane told essendondfl.com.au.
By the end of Round 16 last year, Keilor was the hottest team in the EDFL.
With a bit of luck and minimal list turnover, McGuane is hoping his side can rekindle some of that spark in pursuit of another flag this season.
Andrew Browne and Ryan Hards are the only two confirmed departures and both were key to Keilor’s past success.
But McGuane remains quite happy with the list he has at his disposal, after adding Bell Park star Todd Stevenson, Canberra’s Jayden Hind and Sunshine’s Ben Christodoulou over the summer.
The Blues also managed to retain Damien Cavka after Deer Park came knocking for the former West Coast Eagle.
The other wildcard is 2018 Team of the Year wingman Nick O’Kearney, who seriously injured his neck in Round 15.
“I still see O’Kearney and Cavka as two new recruits for the club,” McGuane said.
“Cavka’s played (14) games in two years, O’Kearney played 14 full games in his first year back and if those boys get right and stay right, we’ve got two outstanding young men who can both play footy.”
O’Kearney’s recovery is progressing well, but a return date is still unknown.
“We’re just letting nature take its course, we’re not putting pressure on him and he knows that,” McGuane explained.
“We look forward to getting him back providing everything has been signed off from a specialist standpoint.
“He’s probably about two weeks away from that tick of approval, so we’ve just got our fingers crossed that everything has mended well.
“He’s doing some running at the moment and doing a little bit of skill work, but he hasn’t been involved in any contested stuff at this stage.”
The Blues are also keen to provide more game time to younger players when circumstances warrant.
“We’re trying to look at unearthing a James Bailey, a Joel Sadler, who we exposed in the back end of the year, and hopefully Hind can play a role either on-ball or forward,” McGuane said.
“(David) Tonkich will play at senior level over a period of time as well.
“We think they’re the 19 and 20-year-old kids that are only going to get better with... sometimes, rapid exposure, through luck or someone else’s bad luck.”
In: Todd Stevenson (utility, Bell Park), Jayden Hind (midfielder, Canberra) Ben Christodoulou (midfielder, Sunshine), Alex Silver (utility, Clarence) & Mitchell Rogerson (utility, South Bendigo)
Out: Andrew Browne (Mansfield) & Ryan Hards (Imperial)