Gunnedah's AFL future is looking promising after the Bulldogs' under-14s made an impressive mark on the North West AFL competition at Gunnedah on Saturday.
In their first-ever competitive game the Bullpups triumphed 8.8 (56) to 4.6 (30) over the Tamworth Roosters.
"It was fantastic," Dogs president and co-coach Hamish Russell said.
The way they performed so competently has given him, and the club, a lot of hope for a successful season.
"They showed they can adapt, showed they can learn," he said.
"Whilst they had some shortcomings on Saturday, I've got no qualms about them ironing those out."
Despite only four of the side having played AFL before (outside of their trial game), Russell said he wasn't that surprised by the performance.
He knew they had it in them from what he had seen at training. He coaches them on Tuesday night's while Pat Hoppe looks after them on Thursday.
"They've got a lot of skill," he said.
"They've all come from contact sporting codes and they're a good confident bunch of young kids."
"And they're all mates. They all encourage each other."
William Hoppe led the way with three goals while Flyn Harrison and Liam Naismith both booted two. Hoppe's brother John scored their other goal and was the best player on the ground, Russell thought.
"He was subject to a couple of really heavy bone-crunching tackles, and ended up a black eye, but he kept getting up each time," he said.
"His work-rate across the whole field never stopped."
Billy also worked hard all game.
Russell also noted Harrison's performance in the ruck in his first game of competitive AFL.
"He's a big strong boy and really had a crack in the ruck," he said.
Callan Gibson also impressed. He was "solid as a rock" down the back, not dropping a mark all game, his performance catching the eye of not only Russell but Dogs first grade coach Doug Meagher.
Owen Colin John Shoesmith and Mason Louis meanwhile showed a good turn of pace around the field.
Russell did point out that the Roosters generously loaned them a couple of players.
"That started the day on a really positive note for us," he said.
And it only got better from there with the under-14s and women's sides notching their maiden wins, and then the men's side continuing their charge.
The Bullpups are this weekend off to Glen Innes and are set to welcome another addition to the kennel with Jake Fisher poised to make his debut, and join older brother Chad in the blue, red and white.