AFTER winning every flag since the beginning of the Central West AFL women's competition, Bathurst Bushrangers were sitting in a familiar position as minor premiers at the end of the season.
What transpired next was a shock to the system of the powerhouse club, as the side fell out of finals contentions in straight sets, not making the grand final that would eventually be played on their home ground anyway.
The sting of that finals campaign is still hurting the side, according to club stalwart Brian Matheson, who has said the squad has hit the park harder that ever in the biggest number's he's seen this preseason.
"The numbers are looking really good, obviously it hurt us last year minor premiers and going out the back door, so the girls are really really keen," he said.
Having a female coaching is an indication of having more women in sport and I'm really excited to have this season under her.Emma Clark
"We've lost a couple of experienced players to having babies, a girl who's one of the most experienced players in the league Keegan Tucker has moved for work reasons, but we've picked up some good talent and numbers are looking better than we ever had."
It's an ominous sign for the rest of the competition, but cross-town rivals Bathurst Giants aren't worried, with player Molly Mann saying the club has had good numbers in their second season in the competition.
"We've had very good numbers, we're looking forward to it and are really keen and hoping to make finals," she said.
READ MORE: A Giant army is building for 2019
READ MORE: Bathurst juniors meet two GWS Giants
Keep up to date with the latest sports news by clicking here
Meanwhile, in Orange the Tigers are looking to build on last year's finals appearance to head deeper into September.
Full forward Emma Clark said the side had picked up more players in the off-season, which will boost the club which occasionally struggled for numbers in 2018.
She said new coach Nita Noble taking the reigns was massive.
"It's definitely different, having a female coaching is an indication of having more women in sport and I'm really excited to have this season under her," Clark said.
"This is my second year playing, I picked it up watching AFLW, it's definitely improved a lot since I first started.
"We definitely want to go better than we did last year, hopefully we get a few wins together."
The CWAFL women's season begins on April 27.