THEY may not have won a Premier League title since 1999, but the Monaro Panthers are implementing a structured junior development program that will aim to have their first grade side back in contention within five years.
Along with Belconnen United, the Queanbeyan-based club fields teams in each level of the National Premier Leagues system which ranges every second age group from under 12s through to first grade, with players in odd-year groups also included in the division above.
And with 11 wins from 19 games between the under 12s and under 20s sides to start this season, results for the club are looking promising despite the first grade team having won just two matches and having a best League finish of just fifth since 2010.
Panthers junior development officer Lino Fiorese said structure within the club and having a set vision of success in "four to five years time" were important in developing young players.
"It's already taken us a few years just to get to where we are now, but we're following the Football Federation Australia curriculum, and we're training the correct nights per week to make sure everything is implemented into our system here," he said.
All players at Monaro from under 12s up committ to four days a week during the season with three training sessions and a game, but interstate and even international fixtures are also on the cards.
This year's preseason saw the under 12s to 16s play the Mount Druitt Mounties in western Sydney for the first time, with plans to make that an annual fixture.
Last year the under 14s travelled to Argentina to play in a tournament, while the under 12s play in South Korea annually in August.
"If players come through this system they'll start to get the culture of what we're all about," said Fiorese.
The Monaro first grade side will meet Woden Valley at Riverside Oval on Sunday.