DOM Huggett has long had a passion for rugby union and seen plenty of talented players do battle across the Central West, but he admits this year's Ferguson Cup has taken him by surprise.
Huggett is the coach of the CSU outfit which finished season 2018 as the runners-up and come this Saturday, will attempt to qualify for a second consecutive decider.
CSU is one of four teams - Orange Emus, Bathurst Bulldogs and Narromine the others - still in contention from the 15 hopefuls who began the season.
Trying to predict which of those four will go on to be crowned champion is tough, but Huggett says that it goes to show how much the standard of women's rugby in the Central West has improved.
"I've been so impressed with the comp so far. Forbes were incredibly solid throughout the season, Emus have obviously got a lot better, Bulldogs have been just as good as last year and Narromine have come out of nowhere," Huggett said.
"Narromine, they weren't in the comp last year, either were Forbes. So it's been unreal, it's great to see.
"Last season we beat a lot of sides by a fair bit and were on the front foot all season, but this year there have been six teams which could easily beat us or put us to the test.
"To see that in women's rugby, to see that in a comp in general - men's or women's - it's unreal to see the development of it.
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"It's a credit to the girls, they are athletic, they know what they are doing. For the most part from my girls, and what I've see across the board, is that they are all eager and willing to learn."
CSU began the season with seven consecutive wins, but over the back half of their campaign fell to Narromine twice, Orange Emus and Forbes.
It saw them slip to fifth on the ladder and facing elimination as they entered the eight-team finals series.
But Huggett has been drawing inspiration from Bathurst Bulldogs' 2018 campaign - his local rivals had hiccups in their run to the title - and now CSU is one win from the grand final.
"You can be as consistent as you want in the regular season, but as long as you finish in that top eight, then all you need from there is four good games and you've won it," Huggett said.
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"Last year we were on a good roll for a good while and Bulldogs dropped a couple of games, they finished up the regular season in third but then they topped us in the grand final.
"We are using that same mentality, all we need is four good games and we've won it. I'm really excited. I'm very proud of the girls no matter what the result is now."
Saturday's preliminary finals will be played at Orange's Endeavour Oval, with Emus facing CSU (10.30am) and Bulldogs and Narromine (11.30am) squaring off.