The moment the Hawks' decade of dominance ended
BEING on the periphery of an AFL Mackay finals series is not a position the Mackay City Hawks are accustomed to.
For the first time in more than a decade, the Hawks were spectators to September action last season after enduring a horror two-win campaign.
Having come within four goals of a premiership in 2017, their dramatic fall from grace was sudden.
A mass player exodus in the off-season hinted at the Hawks' woes, but it was North Mackay's 151-point demolition job in the opening round of last season which signalled a changing of the guard.
As a player, Brad Best was a key cog in the Mackay City machine through the club's decade of dominance.
Now as he prepares to lead the Hawks into battle for the first time as senior coach, Best is hopeful the harsh lessons of 2018 will hold his side in good stead.
"The improvement the guys showed from round one to the last round was phenomenal,” Best said of the Hawks' wooden spoon campaign.
"We went from being easy-beats to being a competitive side. There was enough there, when you take out the results, to see the improvement and that's a big thing.”
Best teased there would be some familiar faces from the Hawks' premiership yesteryears returning to the brown and gold this season.
But he reiterated success would not just come from recruiting the old firm.
"We have something to really build on,” Best said.
"We haven't lost anyone (from last season), and then we've picked up a few at the same time to add to the mix.”
Ahead of his head coaching debut, Best said he and assistant Jennifer Ritchie had already formed a great partnership.
"Her footy brain is fantastic,” he said.
"And it's another set of eyes. What I might be looking at can be completely different to what she's looking at.”