Shayne Wilesmith knows he's stepping up to the role of Dubbo Demons coach at a good time.
But he's not getting carried away and insists nothing can be taken for granted before a ball has even been kicked in the 2019 Central West AFL season.
Wilesmith was this week confirmed as the new head coach of the Dubbo club, having previously served as assistant to Will Bunt.
An interstate employment opportunity forced Bunt to give up the top job just weeks before the new season, but for Wilesmith and the club it was a simple job replacing him.
"It was that natural progression from my point of view," Wilesmith said.
"Will was disappointed to leave but his family is still here in town and he's still going to be involved.
"We talk regularly and we're mates outside of football so he'll still be involved, just not as much as he was."
Wilesmith will also be assisted by Mick Tritton, who has been around the club for a numbers of years, and also injured Demons captain Hamish Pearce.
In a massive blow for the club, Pearce has been ruled out for the season after suffering an ACL injury while playing touch football during the off-season.
"He's one of the best players in the league in my opinion so it's a sad loss," Wilesmith said.
"It's a big blow because you can't replace someone like Hamish."
Despite the major loss of Pearce, there is still plenty of optimism around the Demons heading into the new campaign.
Numbers have been consistently strong at pre-season training while there a number of new players, some having arrived in the region from as far as Western Australia.
"On paper our team is looking better than what we finished with last season with but that means nothing until we run out there and kick more goals than the other team," Wilesmith said.
Earlier in pre-season, Bunt went as far to say it was shaping as the strongest side he'd seen in his time at the helm and added a top two finish was his goal.
Wilesmith wouldn't go that far but said there is plenty of positivity around the camp.
"We've got confidence but like I said, it doesn't mean anything yet," he said.
If we don't make finals I'd be extremely disappointed.Shayne Wilesmith on the Demons in 2019
"We missed semi-finals last season so we want to build on that but we've lost one of our best players who's hard to replace.
"But I would say if we don't make finals I'd be extremely disappointed."
In terms of what rivals clubs and fans will see on the field, there won't be any huge shift in style.
The one thing that could change is the service to the forward line, with new players providing the Demons with the type of height they've been lacking in recent times.
"Will and I are both from the old school," Wilesmith said.
"Going hard at the ball, having the ball more than the other side and it getting forward to score. It's not a hard game but it can be hard to execute."