Shock. Excitement. Nerves. Apprehension.
Coach of the Australian women's over 55 hockey team to play in next September's World Cup in South Africa, Tony Lewis of Taree, admits to having a cocktail of emotions about the job.
Lewis, 53, was announced the 55's coach at the conclusion of the Australian Masters held on the Gold Coast, where he had charge of the gold medal winning NSW 50s women's team.
It's his first national appointment.
This was the seventh time he'd coached a State team at the masters in various age divisions. His record is impressive.
"I've won a medal every year - three gold, two silver and two bronze,'' he said.
Selection process for the Australian coaching positions started in May. Lewis said he was encouraged by players he had coached to put his name forward.
"It wasn't an afterthought, but it was something I left fairly late,'' he said.
He had two interviews with Hockey Australia and he also had to submit a training plan and a fitness program.
Lewis didn't specifically apply for the 55s.
"I put in for a coaching role,'' he explained.
"I was half expecting to get an assistant's job in my first year. But they were happy with my application and the interviews and my philosophy on coaching.''
Players in the 55s come from all the States, so the squad won't be getting together before they head to South Africa, although the majority would be expected to attend the national titles next July.
"Most of the contact will be through e-mail and video coaching,'' Lewis said.
"But when we get to South Africa we train for three days before the cup starts. I understand we'll also have trials against Germany and The Netherlands.''
The squad contains three former Hockeyroos while the majority have extensive representative experience. So Lewis reasons he isn't there to teach them anything new.
"I think the main thing will be to get the players to jell and work combinations,'' he said.
"The fitness and the dedication to their sport is just incredible and the fact I'll be coaching ex-Hockeyroos is a buzz.''
Lewis concedes that coaching at this level is 'an unknown' for him.
However, he expects the Australians would be among the leading contenders for honours, with The Netherlands and Germany the main opposition.
As such Lewis understands he'll be under pressure.
"There'll be a weight of expectation for me to deliver the goods,'' he said.
Lewis's NSW 50s side came from fourth place to win the gold at the Australian Masters.
Taree's Linda Ferguson was a member of the team which claimed the title by beating Queensland 1-0 in the final.
"That was the toughest championship in the seven years I've been coaching,'' he said.
"To beat Queensland on their home turf was an achievement.''
The World Cup is held every two years while there's other tournaments involving Australian Masters sides, including the Trans Tasman against New Zealand.
Lewis hopes South Africa will be the start of a long stint coaching internationally. He's also weighing up whether to take on a coaching position with a Newcastle club in the Hunter Coast Premier League in 2020.
He's been coaching since he was 24, initially with Tigers in the Manning competition. He was in charge of Tigers division one men's side for many years when the club dominated the Manning A-grade and Mid North Coast Premier League competitions.
"Coaching is always something I've wanted to do more of, but obviously other things happen in life. But now I have the opportunity to pursue coaching further,'' he said.
"Coaching's a great opportunity because you get the chance to make a difference in someone's life and not just on the field. It's the positive impact you can have off the field by getting players to believe in themselves.''
Lewis will be heading overseas for the first time when he hops on the plane to fly to South Africa. His wife, Tanya, will be with him and it'll also be her maiden trip out of the country.
"I suppose the first thing we'll have to do is organise passports,'' he smiled.
He said Tanya and daughters Olivia and Hannah have been fully supportive of his coaching endeavours over the years.
"That makes a big difference,'' he said.
"Tigers Hockey Club, in particular the A-grade men, have been great as well.''
(Manning player Melissa Mendham has been named as a shadow play for the Australian 45 women's side, also to play in South Africa next year. She represented Australia in the Trans Tasman series this season.)