IT sounds crazy given their success, but Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong coach Sam Martyn admits he was unsure he was making the right move after beginning his senior coaching career at the Lions last year.
Under Martyn, the Lions have racked up a 21-2 record, including an unbeaten 8-0 start to this season.
Martyn is contracted with the Riverina League flag favourites until the end of next year, but said he has aspirations of eventually advancing through the coaching ranks.
"Going into it when I first started (last year) I wasn't even sure if I was doing the right thing taking this role. I was looking forward to the challenge and seeing if I was any good at it," Martyn said.
"After doing it for a couple of years and being involved with the (GWS) Giants program, being a teacher as well, it's something I've really enjoyed.
"I guess if opportunities presented themselves, it's something I'd look at. But I've got another year at Ganmain and want to put all my eggs in that basket.
"I've ultimately got goals hopefully to try and get into state league if the opportunity presented itself, and take it as far as I can go. I'm firmly focused on Ganmain at this point in time, and still developing myself.
"After next year if anything does come from it, I'll have a look at it. There's so much you can get out of looking at how other teams go about their business."
Martyn said he is keen to undergo professional development through the Giants system, AFL Canberra clubs and possibly state league teams, getting a close-up account of how they operate.
"The Giants have a good pathway where we can spend some time up there and learn from their coaches, and I've got connections in AFL Canberra to maybe spend some time with those clubs," he said.
The Lions have the next two weekends off through competition and club byes, but Martyn feels the extended break has come at a good time.
He said their adaption to his structures had happened more quickly than he thought.
"I had a two year plan on how I wanted us to play, and I didn't think we'd pick it up as well as we did in our first year. We were probably ahead of schedule last year (13-2 record, minor premiers)," he said.
"We finetuned things this year but it hasn't been anything major, just building what we already have in place.
"To go 8-0 is a real credit to the group. It's about recuperating and making sure our bodies are fresh, and even mentally having a break from footy too."
After being denied a chance to press for a premiership last year, Martyn said the players won't take their eye off the prize.
"There's things we can improve, even at 8-0 there's a multitude of things we can still get better at," he said.
"We know we're the team everyone wants to beat now, and they're going to play their best brand to knock us off, but it's a great position to be in.
"There's still mini challenges we want to overcome too. I don't think we've won at Mangoplah for a long time, we know Gullie (second-placed Collingullie-Glenfield Park) and the threat they pose, and we haven't lost at home for a long time either (since 2020).
"It's those little challenges we look forward to, and will use to motivate ourselves through the back half of the season.
"It will be nice to have a definitive end to a season, and even in 2020 it was compromised. Playing and training for eight month periods for two years, you put a lot of time and energy into it.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.