Keeping up with the challenges of turbulent off-season is no stranger to the Dubbo Rhinos.
In the lead-up to 2019 the Rhinos were buffeted by a string of surprises and coaching and roster changes including the departure of newly signed coach Mark Reijnen who spent less than a month with the club.
Second grade coach and player Brett Austin was forced to step into the first grade coaching role on a temporary basis, and step back from his administrative duties as vice president of the club.
"It wasn't an ideal situation, I inherited first grade very early last year and was stretched across both first and second," Austin said.
Next year, however, things look to be different, with long-time club coach Darren Taylor set to return to the fold and take on the first grade coaching job full-time in the 2020 season.
"Darren Taylor will be back next year, he coached us through 2014 and 2015 and we went back to back in those two seasons in the Graincorp Cup," Austin said.
"His track record's been really good with first grade when he's been in charge."
Taylor stepped up to assist with coaching duties last year on at least one occasion, but wasn't present for the entirety of the bruising season that saw the Rhinos end the year with the wooden spoon.
While they didn't taste victory all year, one bright spot for the Rhinos was their developing roster of talent throughout the first and second grade sides, and those young players have thankfully largely stuck together as the off-season begins to ramp up.
"Most of the boys from last year are all playing again, that's pretty positive, the average age was around about twenty one years old last year," Austin said.
"There was a good group of players last year, but they were a fair bit inexperienced, they'll be better for it, better for the hard season they've had."
While the majority of the playing base will return, one notable absence in the upcoming season will be fullback Dale Smith.
Smith, one of the stand-outs on the Rhino side of the field last year, is headed to Canberra to try his hand with the Canberra Vikings and while he'll be sorely missed, Austin said the side couldn't stand in his way.
"We encouraged him to go, as good a footballer as he is and was and as much as we're going to miss him, we want to see him go as high as he can go."
"He got that shot after playing for us last season, so we're very proud of him and who knows, there's always an open door for him here."
Despite Smith's departure, Austin says there are promising signs being shown in the talent present across the second and first grade sides.
"There was a lot of new guys in second grade last year, guys like Brad Phillips and Liam Conn, who'd never played before last year and ended up going really well, they'll probably take a crack at the first grade team."
"There's a lot of potential first grade footballers, it's just making sure we get them there every weekend with things like work and stuff like that."