LAKE Macquare coach Josh Rufo "thought long and hard" in the off season about which direction he wanted to take the club.
The Roosters ran on young legs in a shortened 2020 campaign. Rufo could see the potential in the group but they needed help - guidance.
Enter former Jets midfielder Nick Cowburn, Edgeworth shot-stopper Shane Van As and veterans John Majurovski, Peter McPherson and Josh Maguire.
"We had a lot of young kids and players who were inexperienced at this level," Rufo said. "Nick Charlesworth, Tom Kowalski ... Campbell Ross is already one of the best players in the competition. To be be able to bring in some experience, especially guys who have played at the top level, adds to what we are trying to build.
"The guys who have come in have played in big games and won things. Hopefully that rubs off on the players and we develop a winning mentality."
The early signs are encouraging. The Roosters went within seconds of causing a major upset in round, conceding a late, late goal in injury time to draw 2-all with league favourites Broadmeadow at home.
Down 1-0 at half-time, Cowburn equalised midway through the second half. Replacement Bol Bol put the Roosters up two minutes into injury time, only for Luke Callen to spoli the home part in the 95th minute.
"We were obviously disappointed not to win," Rufo said. "The positives were we scored two goals and, in my opinion, dominated the game."
Magic coach Damian Zane was full of praise for the rebuild Roosters.
"They were very good," he said. "It is going to be a tough place to go."
Next for Lake Macquarie are Maitland at home on Saturday.
"We are looking forward to it," Rufo said. "We just want to be consistent in all our performances.
"All the players are committed to what we are doing. The senior players lead by example. Their input into training and match day is key. Hopefully with all things we are putting in place, we win more games than we lose."