The Dubbo Demons have been undertaking what Will Bunt feels is the most impressive and promising pre-season campaign in some time.
That's what has made the decision to give up his head coach's role even more difficult.
Bunt had little choice but to inform the Demons he was leaving after a job opportunity in Victoria proved too good to pass up.
But the fact this year has the potential to be bigger and better than Bunt's three previous Central West AFL seasons at the helm made it a frustrating choice.
"It's going to be a bit to hard to commute and get to training each week," he joked.
"It was disappointing but it had to be done."
The Central West AFL will hold its season launch on Wednesday and Bunt's resignation from the top job at Dubbo has the club scrambling somewhat to replace him before the 2019 campaign begins.
But regardless of who takes on the role, Bunt is adamant they'll have a squad full of talent and motivation at their disposal.
"This was my fourth year and we've had a core group that whole time," he said.
"We've had an influx of players, new and experienced blokes, and it looks really strong.
"Stepping away at any time is hard but it's compounded by this looking like it's going to be a pretty big year."
The Demons have had roughly 40 players attend pre-season sessions, and a number of new faces have injected much excitement into the club.
The Demons missed finals last year, leading Bunt to say his side has underachieved in recent seasons, but he's confident a title charge is a real possibility in 2019.
"It's the best pre-season I've seen since being there," Bunt said.
"We've got some new blokes and there's a really good base for the rest of the year."
A big reason behind the energised pre-season campaign is the way the players have carried the strong finish to last year on.
"We probably underachieved for a couple of years but we've built a really good foundation and worked on that culture and attitude," Bunt said.
It was disappointing but it had to be done.Will Bunt on stepping down as Dubbo Demons' coach
"In the second half of last year that really paid dividends and you could see it.
"Everyone came together and that was really satisfying and to see the way things have started this year is really good and you can see how good a year it will be.
"It's just all continued on, we haven't had to start again."
Dubbo Demons president Nick Lowther agreed with Bunt and said a top two finish is a realistic target for the Demons in 2019, and he said that optimism has been created largely by the work the outgoing coach has done in recent years.
"Will has been instrumental in the change of the Demons style over the past few years," Lowther said.
"Last year, he took a team of newbies and formed a core that will serve us well into the future. The club is indebted to him for this."
Without confirming any names, Lowther stated a new coach should be named next week.
"There's a strong candidate that has applied and I'm satisfied this person will pick up what Will has handed over," Lowther said.