CHANGE is in the wind for North Companions ahead of their 2019 season campaign.
For the first time in six years Gavin Thompson will not lead the club's first grade side, instead focusing his coaching attentions on the club's reserve-grade team.
Jackson Zifodya will instead take the reins on a side brimming with youthful and inexperienced players.
Thompson told the Leader the decision to step down from the role of first-grade coach was a difficult one.
"To be honest, the decision came down to me not being able to commit the time required to coach at first-grade level," Thompson said.
"There's no guarantee I will be able to make every game or every training session and you need to do that to coach first-grade.
"With the experienced players with have in reserve- grade this season I feel that would be a better fit."
Thompson's decision to step into the reserve-grade role follows the retirement of key first-grade players Ben Todd and Andrew Beer.
"Our first grade side will be much younger this season than in years gone by," Thompson said.
"In fact, I think we may only have two or three players above the age of 20-years-old.
"While they may be young a lot of them got valuable first-grade experience last season and should be better for it.
"I expect them to be competitive this season for sure."
North Companions open their 2019 season campaign with an away trip to Armidale to face the Demon Knights on April 6.
"There has been a bit of reshuffling over the off-season but we are all still pretty excited for this season," Thompson said.
"We have plenty of numbers for this season, which is a major plus.
"Over the years we have been a side that often rebuilds for a variety of different reasons and I'm sure this season will be another case of that."