The Taralga Tigers claimed their third win in a row on the weekend with a 38-5 victory over the Crookwell Dogs in the first Upper Lachlan Shire Cup match of the season.
While the scoreline indicates a fairly one-sided match, in reality it was much more competitive than it appears, and Crookwell coach Bruce Nixon said that the Dogs are moving in the right direction.
"We're just looking from week to week at getting better," Nixon said.
"It's not about winning or losing, because once you start doing that, you then start to worry about other things.
"We've had a couple of close losses, but Taralga are the premiers, they're the benchmark, so I'm really happy with where we are."
2019 will be a rebuilding year for the Dogs, whose numbers were decimated by retirements and player absences ahead of the season.
On Saturday, they had 11 new players out of 15 on the field, and Nixon said that the challenge is now to find the right balance between structure and intuition on the field.
"We've been trying to play a very structured game of rugby, which is hard to implement when you've got different age players," he said.
"Now it's time to say 'guys, you know how to do this'. Play what's in front of you, and let them do it.
"That'll come, it's a young side."
Tigers coach Evan Rees said that continuity was the secret to their hat-trick of wins to begin the season.
"We've only lost four players from last year's premiership team, so the cohesion's there," Rees said.
"We've picked up some really good players as well, we've picked up about five new players to the club and they're showing a heap of potential as well.
"It looks pretty exciting for the rest of the season."
To win the first Upper Lachlan Shire Cup clash of the season is a big boost for the Tigers, but Rees is confident that the Dogs will rediscover their top form before long.
"These games are always tough," Rees said.
"We were expecting a tough game, regardless of the other results during the start of the year.
"They've obviously got a lot of new players, so they're still working on combinations and we'll be expecting them to improve when we play them next time."
The match also marked Taralga veteran William Hedley's 200th career game, which the club marked with a framed jersey.
"[He] played his 200th today, he's had 16 years at the club," Rees said.
"We've got a special presentation to make to him at the club, to celebrate his 200. 16 years is a long time."