For returning Quirindi coach Jack Parfitt, the big difference in the Lions from 2023 to this season isn't personnel or anything like that; it's something more intangible - belief.
Taking over the coaching duties last season, the former Hong Kong international reflected that when he told them at the start of last season that they could play finals footy, they all thought he "was an idiot".
"I think the biggest thing we have over last year is that the players genuinely believe they can actually do it this year, where last year it was sort of halfway through the season that the players went oh we're actually in the race here," he said.
Now they know "they can do it" and know "when they play good footy" they can match it with the top sides.
It wasn't quite to be last season, missing out to Narrabri for fourth spot by a bonus point.
What would have been the Lions' first finals appearance for a number of years, naturally at the time it "was really disappointing".
But, upon deeper reflection there was a lot to be proud of.
"You look at what the club achieved last year with players getting selected for Country and then we had Bailey (Swain) get the best and fairest under 21 in the comp," Parfitt said.
"And we pushed some big teams, we took some scalps of the big teams and people just didn't sort of go we're playing Quirindi this week it's an easy walkover."
That's not to say the commercial sales and leasing associate with Ray White, didn't find last season "incredibly frustrating" at times.
"I think anybody that doesn't say that is full of s**t," he said.
"But I really, really enjoyed last season.
"The biggest thing that I love about going down there, is Quirindi is a club that really is quite like a big family.
"And especially being a club where I'd say 80 per cent of the boys work on properties and what not, everybody really does look out for each other."
Back to this season and things are shaping up pretty well at this stage.
They have retained around 95 per cent of the player base, and other than Callum McIntosh, who is off to Canada, haven't really lost many of their "core" players.
On top of that they have "a fair bit of talent coming into the club": players that have either moved back after finishing uni, or moved to town.
Many of them have "played a good level of footy" in Sydney or Canberra.
They Lions have seen through Daniel Calavassy and Hamish Dunbar, what that experience can bring and the way it "flows on through the club and the players".
Both are back on deck for 2024.
As is Swain.
Adjudged the Lions' Rookie of the Year in 2022, the young gun took his game to new heights in 2023, and with a good pre-season behind him, a bit more size and more confidence "with the style he plays", Parfitt is anticipating "even better things" from him this season.
After training for the last couple of weeks at Plains Fitness, they commence on-field training on Wednesday February 14.
As far as trials they have three locked in, the first of which is on March 9 at Quirindi.