Lake Macquarie coach Gareth Polamo rated the emergence of teenagers Nick Benn and Justis Gerrard as one of the "major positives" in a season where the Roos went from wooden-spooners to semi-finalists.
Lake Macquarie, who finished fifth, were knocked out of the finals after a 27-all draw with Merewether was enough for the fourth-placed Greens to progress.
It was a dramatic improvement on a horrendous 2018 in which the Roos didn't win a game and conceded more than 100 points on five occasions.
Benn, a long-striding back, and breakaway Gerrard are Roos juniors and were promoted from the under-18s to the top grade in July.
"That is one of the major positives. We are trying to bring through some of the young guys and let them progress," Polamo said. "Nick and Justis have shown their capabilities to play in the top grade. It is a matter of trying to keep them here, let them grow and develop as players."
The Roos, as one of the bottom three teams from 2018, had a player points cap of 24, eight more than the top seven teams.
Under the player points system (PPS), each new player is worth three points. Players in their second year at a club are worth two, and third-year players, one.
It is the first time since the introduction of the PPS that a club has moved from the bottom three into the top five in one season.
Rather than have their cap reduced to 16 points next year, they can apply to have it sit at 20 points.
"The policy has been to wean the cap down over time," NHRU general manager Andy Fairfull said. "It is half the benefit the following year. The rationale behind it is if you give a club points to help them strengthen by importing players - if those players stay around they get a natural reduction because they are a season in - there is no way they can go from 24 points to 16 points in one season."
Fairfull said the NHRU were happy with the progress Lake Macquarie have made on and off the field.
"They need to improve their depth and attract more volunteers," Fairfull said. "Their board knows strategically what a great club looks like on and off the field and they are now putting in the pieces to become that. They have juniors coming through each year now. We think the club has made massive progress but they still have some way to go."