On the eve of his second finals campaign with East Wagga-Kooringal, coach Matt Hard has sounded the 'full steam ahead' siren at the Hawks, re-signing for a third year.
A premiership-winning coach at Coolamon in 2013, and the Northern Jets in 2007, Hard said he gave the job full consideration before committing to coach again at Gumly in 2020.
"Obviously I enjoy what I do. It's a tough gig, the coaching gig, and sometimes I think I've got rocks in my head. But we've got a good group out there and a really good group of young fellas in the under 17s - a few of those boys have played senior footy," Hard said.
"They're just good young talent, I can see a real bright future and we think that we can really build on that.
"I thought long and hard about it and there's a lot to like about where we're at and where we're going."
EWK's under 17s are unbeaten while the club's reserve grade finished second (closing out their home-and-away campaign with a 200-point win against Temora).
Hard said they'll work on re-signing as many current players as they can for next season.
"It's not about today or tomorrow, it's about building a strong future and with the group we've got there at the moment, hopefully we can do so," he said.
"We'd like to retain all our players. Obviously there'll be some changes, you can't keep everybody, but we really hope we keep the players we've got, keep the kids we've got, and we'll be looking to add to that.
"We think if we can do that, then we can remain a force and that's what we want to do, we want to be a strong club for years to come."
The Hawks finished fourth last year and, after beating Charles Sturt University in the elimination final, went out in a lacklustre semi-final against Temora.
After beating the Kangaroos on the weekend, they're guaranteed two finals again this season and will start the campaign with a qualifying final against reigning premiers Marrar at McPherson Oval on Saturday.
"All that finishing top three does is it means you've got two finals, but that doesn't mean a hell of a lot," Hard said.
"We want to keep building, keep improving. It all starts again now so we've got to get ourselves right for Marrar. But it's an exciting time."
The Bombers only narrowly missed a third straight minor premiership and are the hot team heading into finals after winning their last nine games, including an 11-goal thumping of EWK just over two weeks ago.
"We need to improve a lot, there's no doubt about it. They came out a couple of weeks ago and gave us a nice old belting so we've got to respond to that, and do things better," Hard said.
"We'll learn a lot from that so we're looking forward to facing them again and hopefully we can right our wrongs."
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