Gunnedah women's 7s coach John Hickey believes the Red Devils are a better allround outfit in 2019, and highlighted their speed and strength as two of the key factors in that.
Their ball handling and general understanding of the game has also come a long way in the last 12 months.
The best measure of the Red Devils' development is the table. They currently sit on top,14 points clear of second-placed Moree after stretching their advantage with two good wins over Quirindi on Saturday.
After seeing off a fierce challenge from the Lions to get the points 19-5 in their opening game they dominated the second game to run out 31-nil victors.
Maddy Collison opened the scoring in the second game just a couple of minutes in after the Red Devils applied the pressure to the Quirindi scrum and forced a turnover.
It set the tone, with the pressure from the Red Devils relentless throughout the game.
Torika Nadruku doubled their advantage a couple of minutes later and then, right on half-time, Fiona Laurie burnt the Lions defence outwide to put the Red Devils up 19-nil at the break.
"The girls played really well," Hickey said.
The Lions however didn't make it easy for them, especially in the first game.
"I thought the opposition played well, they were very determined and had a good structure," he said.
"Their ball handling was very good, it took us a while to get on top of them."
After going through the first eight rounds last year without a win, the Red Devils have won seven of their eight games so far this season.
"It's been very good, the girls worked hard to get themselves in shape during the off season," Hickey said.
"They put themselves in touch teams over the summer to stay fit."
"They're a lot fitter than last year and a lot stronger."
He said Collison was outstanding for them on Saturday. He had tried to lure her across last year but she wasn't that keen on the contact and invested into her league tag.
Very much "in the mould of Sarah (Stewart) and Izzy (Hunt)" she has been a valuable addition this season.
"She's strong in the middle and constantly at you attack and defence," he said.
Her combination with fellow power forwards Stewart and Hunt, who was also a standout, in the first game "made it very hard for the opposition".
Lions co-coach Nick Rees said there was a lot they could take away from Saturday.
"We wanted this game to see where we sat in the competition," he said.
"The girls played some hard football but we didn't have that much football."
In the second game they were probably defending for 70 per cent of the game.
"The defence was really good," Rees said.
"We were very strong in the middle and we made Gunnedah go around us which was the plan."
They also really focused on a good clean-out and protecting their ball, and he felt that paid dividends for them.
"We're (Rees and co-coach Toby Simkin) really happy with the way they are progressing," Rees said,.
"They're starting to play 7s football. They're passing and then reloading."
Narrabri meanwhile picked up their first wins of the season defeating Barraba 36-10 and 19-14. Tenayah Woodward was a star for the Blue Boars scoring a hat-trick in the first game and crossing for one of their three tries in the second.