Quirindi coach Tom Koerstz believes they have taken some big strides forward this season and will be better for the lessons they have learnt next year.
From bottom of the table and with just one win two years ago (there was no competition in 2020), the Lions this season rose to seventh and had notched six wins before the season was suspended, claiming some big scalps along the way.
Unfortunately Koerstz will have to watch from afar how they build on it. He has moved back to Dubbo after a job opportunity came up with Graincorp out there.
"It's an exciting new challenge but sad," he said.
"That club (Quirindi), as cliche as it sounds, was a bit of a family for me when I moved up there and didn't know anyone".
He reflected on the season as "one of those years".
"We were almost there, we were so close. It was just those little moments that will be so good for us, from a club perspective, to build and learn from," he said.
He said they had gone into the season with pretty high expectations. And while they didn't necessarily hit them, looking at the bigger picture and where they came from three years ago, Koerstz couldn't but be prouder and said it puts the club in a good spot going forward.
"It was disappointing to just miss the finals," he said. "[But] It's pretty phenomenal what the club has been able to do; to be where we weren't winning a game to knocking off some pretty big clubs."
One of the standout moments was beating perennial heavyweights Moree for the first time in a long while.
They were also only the second side to beat Inverell at home this season, beating them in both grades.
"We were trying to work it out. We struggled to remember a time when we'd beaten them two-from-two up there. That was an incredibly special moment," Koerstz said.
At the other end of the spectrum was the game against Pirates in Tamworth. In what turned out to be their last game of the season, they fell an agonizing three points short of beating the premiers.
Koerstz was by his own admission "absolutely devastated" in the immediate aftermath but reflected that it was a good day to "show how far they have come" as a club, with second grade beaten by only two points, and that they "can match it with the heavyweights when we get it right".
One of their biggest downfalls was their inconsistency.
The perfect example was when they beat Moree and a week later were thrashed by Gunnedah.
In his first season in charge, he spoke about the great support he received from the club's leadership team and the players.
"I had coach next to my name but there were 40 blokes as a collective that made the season," he said.