It would seem the Rams are forever the bridesmaid, although last year’s fourth place finish was more of a flower-girl position compared to the three grand finals in consecutive years, from 2010 to 2012.
Virginia is widely respected as a regular finals contender and looks to be on the same page again but that one last step going from contender to champion is proving to be the biggest hurdle.
The Rams are blessed with some perennial talent, the likes of Matthew Young, Ben Russell, Adrian Mark and Ryan Starr all regulars in the line-up over a number of years.
Add on top of that the class of Caleb Howell, and you’ve got a solid foundation to build a football team around.
This is Joss DenEngelse’s challenge, all the wiser now after his first year as coach in 2013.
Key defender, Nathan Warren, comes back to the club after a stint in the SA Amateur League, while Nathan Wright and Chris Motley come across from Salisbury North.
The club has plundered Kilburn’s stocks, Matthew Whelan, Tyson Smith, Scott Galbraith and Alex Brackstone signing at the Rams.
Brendon Niklaus remains the main avenue to goal for Virginia, the key forward averaging more than 94 goals a season over the past four years.
On goals alone, he kicked more than 35 per cent of Virginia’s total score in 2013.
The introduction of new fitness coach, Craig Ieke, who DenEngelse claims is the club’s biggest ‘recruit’ this year.
A boost to the engines of the Rams, right across the board, would likely mean another finals appearance in 2014.
A reliance on Chris James taking a bulk of the ruck could be a potential weakness, the talented big man susceptible to the odd injury in recent years.