North Launceston coach Taylor Whitford backs the depth of his club to step up and fill the void left by an exodus of players.
Premiership Bombers Tom Bennett, Jake Pearce, Zach Burt, Tarryn Thomas, Jordan Cousens and Mark Walsh have all exited the club but Whitford believes his new recruits and former development league players have the necessary skills to continue North's superb run.
"Our development league team made the grand final last year," Whitord said.
"So our talent underneath has always been there, it's just the ability to mould them into senior footballers."
After winning four of the last five statewide flags, the Bombers have recruited some big name NTFA players with reigning Division 1 best and fairest winner Jordan Tepper joining from South Launceston while Ben Elmer returns to the Northern Bombers from Rocherlea where he won last season's NTFA goal-kicking award.
North have also recruited from within the State League in their former junior Jack Rushton, from Launceston, plus ex-Devonport Magpie Liam Davies who arrives from Ulverstone where he reached the NWFL grand final last year.
North recently announced their leadership group to bring the club through season 2019 with Brad Cox-Goodyer continuing as captain with two new deputies in Josh Ponting and Jay Foon plus long time vice-captain Jack Avent and young star Arion Richter-Salter.
"We had to give time for the new faces to gel and provide opportunities for others to take leadership roles, so the process was done a bit later than previous years," Whitford said.
"After the pre-season period last week, the players voted on who they saw leading our club values going forward and that's who they picked."
The Bombers have played practice matches against NTFA clubs Scottsdale, Bridgenorth and Rocherlea, which Whitford said was a good learning experience for both the senior and Development League sides.
North also lost a practice game against TSL rivals Glenorchy but Whitford said the match created a good opportunity.
"They came to play and it was a really good opportunity for those newer players who haven't really had the chance to play senior footy with our club to see a strong club in Glenorchy and how they go about it. Some learnings out of that hopefully we can add to our training and be prepared for round one."
Whitford believes talent retention is key to building a strong TSL competition and eventually, the case for a Tasmanian AFL Team.
"Jay Lockhart is a perfect example of that," he said. "He played all his junior footy with our footy club, played senior footy, won a best and fairest and then went to the VFL and after a year there, got drafted. The talent's here, it's about retaining it and providing a platform for those players to stay in our state."
This comes after several Launceston-based players including Rulla Kelly-Mansell, Jake Hinds and Tim Auckland have left Tasmania for the NEAFL and SANFL competitions.
"We need to provide that level here. I just don't think we are at the moment. Whether it's the ability to fund that or the environment that we are providing, I think the state program has shifted a lot over the pre-season towards the direction we need to go but I think it's about two or three years away if I'm honest."
North Launceston kick off their premiership defence against the Tigers, who are bolstered by returning former Hawthorn player Kieran Lovell, at Kingston's Twin Ovals.