Mick Sullivan spent nine years at the top in Group 10.
Eight finals campaigns. Seven grand final appearances. Five premierships. Four minor premierships and, don't forget, a Group 10 player of the year gong in 2010, too.
His record speaks for itself.
But pick a year. Any of those years, from 2010 through to 2018. The message was always the same. Without fail.
Sullivan's goal, his message to the troops? Finish in the top three.
Paraphrasing the champion captain-coach, which I'm sure he won't mind, Sullivan always said it was just about impossible to win the comp from outside of the top three.
His record, the one above, with enough trophies to appease every member of a junior footy side, backs up that sentiment.
In 2010 (first), 2011 (second), 2013 (third), 2015 (first) and 2017 (first) CYMS enjoyed premiership years and each one of them after finishing in the top three at the end of the regular season.
All of those crowns were won on home soil, too. The top three, home ground advantage, it's a recipe for success.
The only recipe, depending on who you ask. Normally really successful guys, like Sully.
But is there a change in the air? Is the impossible all of a sudden possible?
AT THE END OF THE DAY: A decade on from Mudgee's incredible 2009 premiership triumph
Mudgee stormed from fifth to win the 2016 grand final and then, last year, Bathurst Panthers came from fourth to do the same.
Two runs through a month's worth of sudden death football, in the last three years.
Then over in the Woodbridge Cup, Manildra charged from fifth to make their grand final at Jack Huxley Oval.
The Rhinos didn't win, but they didn't finish in the top three either, and Simon Osborne's men were there when the whips were cracking.
Same deal a touch further west.
I dont think any side outside of the top three can win it.Mick Sullivan during the 2013 Group 10 season. CYMS finished third that season and went on to win the premiership.
Forbes has enjoyed a stellar run in the last three years, winning two premierships after enduring a title drought that stretched back to 1989.
Titles in 2016 and 2018 were won from fourth place. They've finished fifth this season. It'd take a brave man to write off the defending Group 11 champions this weekend.
So, is the top three that big of a leg-up?
Can we find a champion side out of each of Western Division's competitions in their respective top threes?
Which is the exception and which is the rule?
Bush footy competitions across this region are closer than ever but we'll subscribe to the Sullivan theory ahead of each 2019 finals series.
There's been some exceptional teams this season: consistent, ruthless and primed to create history.
So let's take a look at how each finals series is shaping up across Western:
TOP FIVE: Trundle Boomers, Manildra Rhinos, Molong Bulls, Canowindra Tigers, Grenfell Goannas.
THE LOW DOWN: Trundle has virtually led from start to finish this Woodbridge Cup campaign and have been more consistent than any side over the last four years - winning a record four straight Cup minor titles as well as taking back-to-back major crowns back to Berryman Oval in 2017 and 2018.
CHECK OUT THE WOODBRIDGE CUP LADDER
Season 2019 has belonged to the Boomers - so far - but there's some seriously in-form teams nipping at their heels.
Canowindra is one of those. The Tigers will roar from fourth - but might have to do so without Regan Hughes in week one of the semi-finals with the red-headed tearaway likely to line-up for CSU in a rugby union grand final on Saturday - and are capable of going toe-to-toe with the likes of Molong and Manildra, two sides they'll have to beat to get a crack at Trundle.
Huge ask though - we're tipping a rematch of last year's decider.
GRAND FINAL: Trundle versus Manildra.
WINNERS: Boomers by 8 points.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Blake Ridges (Trundle)
THE TOP FIVE: Orange Hawks, Bathurst Panthers, Mudgee Dragons, Lithgow Workies, Cowra Magpies.
THE LOW DOWN: We're still a week away from Group 10's finals series kicking off but last weekend's rain-marred round means the final five is all-but locked in - let's run with it.
Hawks and defending premiers Panthers have been the stand-outs, there's no questions there. But the big query is this: can Lithgow make a run?
A fortnight ago the answer was an unequivocal yes, but then Workies struck trouble and without Jono Van Veen for a week they went from knocking off Panthers to being lapped by Hawks to the tune of 60 points.
I know Forbes won last year's Group 11 grand final after being belted by 50 points at one point in the season but I can't see it happening here.
Mudgee will be tough but have been worryingly inconsistent in 2019.
GRAND FINAL: Orange Hawks versus Bathurst Panthers.
WINNERS: Panthers by 2 points.
DAVE SCOTT MEDALIST: Jake Betts (Panthers).
THE TOP FIVE: Dubbo CYMS, Wellington Cowboys, Nyngan Tigers, Parkes Spacemen, Forbes Magpies.
THE LOW DOWN: Normally, Dubbo CYMS wins the minor premiership, which they did again in 2019, and the major crown is their's to lose.
This hasn't been an ordinary Group 11 campaign though.
The Fishies have lost to both Wellington and Nyngan during the regular season, which indicates the major games in this series will be incredibly hard-fought, and for the first time in a long time pretty hard to pick.
Upsets are fun to watch unfold, and backing an underdog is even better. And while it's hard to write-off Parkes in fourth - they're playing great footy - it's even harder to go past the Tigers and Cowboys.
Tahu versus Carney in a grand final? LOCK. IT. IN.
GRAND FINAL: Wellington versus Nyngan.
WINNERS: Wellington by 10 points.
BOB WEIR MEDALIST: Josh Griffiths (Wellington).
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