A focus on bringing Wagga Tigers juniors back to the club paved the way for a historic Riverina League premiership on Saturday.
Tigers completed a remarkable 12-month transformation with a 20-point win over Griffith in the grand final.
It was a special win on a couple of fronts. Firstly, Tigers came from 19-points down to run over the top of the Swans.
It was also a win that defied history. Tigers, who won just two games in 2018, became the first club in 28 years to win the premiership after not playing finals the season before.
Maiden, who guided Tigers to a premiership in his first season back as coach, said the return of a number of club juniors was the key from the rise from eighth to premiers.
"It took a lot of work from people within the club to go out and get these ex-Tigers people back at the club," Maiden said.
"That was our focus. To get these people back because they are invested. You look through the list and there is some guys from outside the area, absolutely, but a lot of the guys have come through Tigers juniors.
"From the point of view that last year they were eighth and this year we've won the flag, I don't know if its relative. The two lists are different."
Tigers also became the first team since 2002 to lose the qualifying final but recover and win the flag.
"When you talk about losing that first final, it probably wasn't the worst thing that could happen to us," he said.
"It probably kicked us into gear a little bit. Your wins can sometimes gloss over the cracks. We had a couple of things we thought we needed to work on, particularly with our ball movement forward, rather than just bomb it away like we did in the first final."
Maiden was delighted for the players after guiding them to a famous victory. But it was also a special moment for him, his first premiership as senior coach, 17 years after playing in a Riverina League flag at Turvey Park.
"It's exciting. It's fantastic. It's probably something further down the track that you walk into the clubrooms and you see your name as the coach and premiers," he said.
"Tigers provided me with that opportunity to go and be a senior coach and it's fantastic to come back and help them win a flag because it's a fantastic club to be involved in.
"I guess you're always known as a premiership coach but it's not about me. It's about the players and the club.
"It's just fantastic for the club and fantastic for the players. The effort that they've put in and to get rewarded for that today, I think is awesome. They're bloody hard to play in and they're bloody harder to win."
Grand finals are hard to win, particularly when you find yourself more than three goals down in the third quarter. But Maiden never lost faith.
"I knew we had the legs, I knew we had the speed we just had to get that footy on the outside and run. In the second half I thought we really did that well," he said.
"We got the footy into space, got it into the hands of guys like Shauny Driscoll, Jack Kelly, Chook Mascini, guys with pace. We knew that was where we had to play the game.
"They wanted it, with their bigger bodies, in tight. We had to match them in that area, which I think we did."
Maiden believes the second half turnaround was built on the back of pressure, something Griffith had prided itself on throughout finals.
"I think we just lifted our pressure in the second half," he said.
"I thought our pressure was through the roof, which was good and caused that turnover to give us that rebound.
"They obviously roll a lot of numbers behind the footy and try to clog up our forward line but we knew if we could win it up the ground and actually move it into our forward line a little bit quicker and a little bit smarter then we were going to create some problems."
Wagga Tigers president Anthony Lyons was proud to see the club back on top of the mountain.
"It started with the recruiting with Kel (Paul Kelly) coming on board last year. Kel and Flanno (Chris Flanigan) did a lot of hard work in October-November last year," Lyons said.
"The workforce at the club has always been there in the committee, we've always had a strong committee. It's just that a few of the players had moved on to better their football, which is what we want as a club. We want them to better their football and when they come back, their better footballers as showed out there. It's very rewarding.
"Eighteen of the 22 out there today were club juniors. Four imports. 18 born and bred Tigers, who played since under eights upwards. That's the rewarding part."