WHEN Brayden O’Hara walks into the centre square just after 2pm each Saturday, he’s confident he’s got the bloke standing next to him covered.
Not because he has got ahead of himself, not because he doesn’t respect his opponent and not necessarily because he’s been blessed with more talent than most others.
But because he’s done the work.
Whether it’s the bounce of the ball, weather conditions or being in the right place at the right time — there are already more than enough things that come down to chance on a football field.
Preparation isn’t one of them.
It’s a pretty simple equation, but one few country footballers have enough discipline to follow.
Albury’s new star does.
“I eat pretty well and try and do all the extras I can,” O’Hara, 26, said.
“It helps a lot, probably more mentally than anything.”
O’Hara’s elite fitness and running capacity has quickly put the rest of the Ovens and Murray on notice.
It’s hard to think of any player in the competition that gets to more contests.
But it wasn’t always that way.
O’Hara, who joined the Tigers this year, conceded he was just like most teenage footballers growing up in South Australia.
“To be honest, up until I was 21-22 I was pretty lazy,” he confessed.
“I didn’t do much.
“A couple of guys I worked with in Adelaide, including the captain, took me aside and showed me how I could lift my workrate.
“It was a massive help.”
That’s an understatement.
O’Hara arrived at Albury Sportsground fresh off a best and fairest at SANFL heavyweight Central District, a club he won three premierships and played 100 games for.
For that reason it should be no surprise O’Hara has taken the O and M by storm.
He hasn’t been out of Albury’s best players this season and is averaging three goals a game from the midfield.
He also played a leading role in the league’s record-breaking 125-point rout of the Hampden league last month.
“I’m really enjoying it,” O’Hara said.
“The boys and club have been really good. It’s a quality standard of footy, but I knew it would be.
“I watched games last year and knew it was really competitive footy.”
And when it comes to the O and M, things don’t get much more “competitive” than when Albury does battle with bitter rival Yarrawonga.
These are the games good players play well in — and O’Hara knows that.
“It should be good,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to it.
“Hopefully we can continue playing well and the big fella (Setanta O’hAilpin) keeps kicking goals.
“Obviously you want to play well in the big games.”
Judging by O’Hara’s first half of the season, it’s a safe bet to say he will.