Ben Maher has played a number of roles during his time at the Gunnedah Bulldogs and this season his role will shift ever so slightly again.
After joining the club in 2016, the then year 11 student was nominated for the AFL North West Rising Star award before winning the award in 2017, along with a premiership.
Named captain in 2018, he then helped Gunnedah get to a grand final before where they went down to Inverell.
Maher's next two years were every captain's dream with back-to-back premierships with the Bulldogs.
And in 2021, the 21-year-old will be helping guide Gunnedah through a rebuilding phase alongside coach Andy Mack and the senior playing group.
The side has not only lost some experienced heads over the years but a number of younger players have also moved on in recent times.
While experience will come, the performance of a couple younger players in Saturday's 26.10 (166) to 4.6 (30) win the Moree Narrabri joint venture brought a smile to Maher's face.
"Braydyn Finlay and Caleb Cameron - it was their first game of the year - they were unreal," Maher said.
He added: "A couple main ones [young players] we lost are Jasper Thomas and my brother. JT is lightning and Tom's a solid defender. Losing them shook up the process but Braydyn and Caleb are quick, handy fellas and hopefully they can stick at it and pick up a few more skills."
The return and performance of Andrew George also had a huge impact against Moree-Narrabri.
Maher said he "just dominated" across the half back line and through the middle while James Mack also continued his strong start to the season with another outstanding performance.
"It was a bit of a confidence boost considering the week we had before [a 33-point loss to the Kangaroos]," Maher said.
"We had a few key players back which helped. We set it up through the middle and played that old style of footy we used to play."
This season will be Maher's fourth as captain of the Dogs and he said his role would be slightly different to previous years.
"When you are having a lot of success and things are going your way, it makes the job as captain easier," Maher said.
"There's that little bit of pressure off and you can focus on your game but this year, it's tighter and we've lost a few players so you've gotta think about it more.
"The last three or four years being captain, I've had a pretty good support network with guys like Andy and Jimmy Mack, Georgey and John Woolaston."
Meanwhile, the women's game on Saturday saw the Poochettes claim their second win of the season.
They played a 14-a-side match against Moree and lent the Suns six of their stronger players, coach Sam Proudfoot said.
The lending hand of Gunnedah resulted in a competitive game of football.
The final score read 10.9 (69) to 6.0 (36) in favour of the Gunnedah outfit.
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