BATHURST Panthers' Group 10 premier league side have their eyes firmly fixed on the big prize next Sunday but their mentor has received an individual accolade in the build up to the grand final.
Doug Hewitt was named Group 10 coach of the year in Friday's presentation night as his Panthers sit one win away from successfully defending their title.
Hewitt has again steered the team with conviction from halfback and inspired the team to a grand final appearance against the Mudgee Dragons.
"It's never something you work towards. It's just something that comes with success in your footy," Hewitt said of his win.
"It's always good to get an award like that though because there's some great coaches in Group 10."
There's certainly a different vibe around Hewitt's second year at the helm of the team.
Last year's team was one full of potential, as Hewitt took control of a squad with the right weapons to make a run at the title but it would come down to their execution.
They were able to nail their execution on the way to a premiership.
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With their potential realised, this year's team is now one of perseverance.
They know what it takes to win the crown and Hewitt has learned plenty from his first year of coaching in order to help guide his team through tough moments.
"Last year was really nerve wracking because you're hoping you're doing it all right. Now, knowing that it worked last year, it's about sticking to those guns," he said.
"It's definitely been a lot easier this year and I've had a lot of help around the club. There's a lot of people who've stood up and done an unreal job."
There was more success for Panthers at the presentation night as Hewitt's halves partner, Willie Wright, bagged both the leading try scorer and leading goal kicker awards.
St Pat's also got in on the coaching accolades as their under 18s co-coach Kev Grimshaw was named the division's coach of the year.
Grimshaw has guided this year's under 18s Saints team to a grand final derby against Panthers.