Edgeworth star turned interim coach Josh Rose believes his players' siege mentality has helped the side make a brilliant start to the Northern NSW NPL season in the face of off-field upheaval.
With a third coach at the helm this season, and another taking over next year, Edgeworth could be expected to drop down a notch from the heady heights of their previous five years under Damian Zane.
The Eagles, though, have gone to a new high, winning their opening five games of a season for the first time in their period of dominance, which has included four premierships, five consecutive grand final appearances and three championships.
They sit top of the table despite Zane stepping down the week of the season kicking off and his assistant, Keelan Hamilton, quitting after three games as his replacement.
Rose answered the call from Eagles administrator Warren Mills to be a player-coach for the rest of 2020, just before former Newcastle Breakers coach Lee Sterrey was announced as Edgeworth's boss for 2021.
The Eagles have maintained their focus under Rose, beating Broadmeadow 1-0 and Lake Macquarie 3-0, and the former Mariners left-back believed the players deserved high praise.
"With so much changeover early on, I think the boys have almost got that siege mentality," Rose said.
"It's like, 'OK, everyone almost expects us to not do well because of everything that's happened, so let's prove them wrong'.
"There's always that little bit of motivation you can find from somewhere I think. In the past, I think Zaney has done well finding it from somewhere, and with the changeover, it's like 'everyone will write us off, so let's get the job done'.
"I think it's helped us in a way. The boys are definitely focused and I think the second half against Magic was outstanding. They are definitely doing a great job on the pitch."
Rose, 38, will play on next year but he also has an eye on a future in coaching. He already runs his own academy and works part-time at the International Football School at Kariong.
"I'm enjoying the playing side of it, but now I'm coaching, I'm stepping back a bit more and taking myself off more to have a bit more of a role from the sidelines," he said. "But I'm definitely keen to keep playing and the fact Millsy has appointed someone for next year helps me in these 10 weeks, just to concentrate on this and not have to worry about retention.
"This is a great experience and this is something down the track I definitely want to get in to, but I want to play as long as I can as well."
He said the steady voice of assistant Rod Linsley and leadership of Josh Evans and Pat Wheeler had also been key factors in the success.
"It's just the winning mentality that's at the club," he said.
"It's a lot of the same boys who have been there for a long time. We've still got the same mentality."
Rose said he had tried to pick up where his predecessors had left off.
"Keelan initially did a very good good in a quick transition from round one and then when I took over three games in, we just kept things the same to make the transition as smooth as possible again and thankfully the boys have been good," he said.
"They just take it all on board and don't change too much. It's just a different voice and a different person picking the team each week.
"I've almost followed suit on what Zaney and Keelan had done, just pick two strengths we can work on and two weaknesses of the opposition we can pinpoint. Just try to keep it simple."
"It's different, that's for sure," he said of playing and coaching.
"The thinking is a lot different. I enjoyed playing under Zaney and Keelan, I could just do my thing on the pitch and not worry about it, but over the past few weeks I've taken the job on and analysed the opposition a lot more.
"It's a good little test and good starting spot for me in the senior football aspect because I know the club and boys quite well, so it's not a new environment. It's more just taking charge.
"The fact I'm comfortable in that environment definitely helps. It's been a good stepping stone to have a crack at senior coaching."
Zane will take over at Broadmeadow next year, leading to speculation about players leaving Edgeworth for Magic.
Rose said Mills had indicated "a good 90 per cent of the boys" had re-signed.
"I think Edgeworth is good in that respect, they love the club," Rose said.
"There will be a few that follow coaches, but I think there's a real love for the Edgeworth club and that shows on the field week in, week out."