With another year at the helm of Central Districts likely, coach Alan Hunt is looking to bring through the next generation of players.
Hunt's contract expires at the end of the month and while he hasn't signed anything, he has been offered a year's contract.
CD were hit by injuries last season, with only four contracted players available at times, so he had to use a lot of young blood, including Manawatu's Bevan Small, Adam Milne, Dane Cleaver and Roald Badenhorst.
"The thing with the young players is they have got ability," Hunt said.
"We pick them when we think they're ready to succeed on the pitch. They do what we could expect, considering some days you have really good days and other days you don't. That's what you need with young players – to find their way at this level."
Hunt thought all the young players through the districts, not just from Manawatu, had shown good signs, but many of them were still a work in progress.
"Just because they've played a couple of games, doesn't mean they've made it. It's a hard game."
Small and Milne were ahead of Badenhorst and Cleaver in Hunt's pecking order, but the two fast bowlers had to get over their injury problems to become regulars in the Stags lineup.
While Badenhorst opened the bowling for CD at times last season, they still see him as a batsman who bowls and want to see him competing with Kieran Noema-Barnett and Carl Cachopa for the all-rounder's spot.
Doug Bracewell, Tarun Nethula and CD's player of the year Kruger van Wyk played for the Black Caps last summer and are possibilities to make it on to the New Zealand contract list.
So along with the retirements of fast bowler Mike Mason and opener Peter Ingram, a few spots should be opening up on the CD list.
Hunt said the number of contracts could increase from 12 to 14 and he wasn't exactly sure who would feature for next season.
"That's going to create some opportunities for younger players to pick up a contract ... If that happens, it does open up some spaces for others.
"There will be some changes among the contracted group.
"Whether we get any new players that's still to be determined."
CD are in the middle of their player reviews before they decide on the contracts and start preparing for the pre-season in October.
- © Fairfax NZ News