The region's AFL draft prospects find themselves in an incredibly unfamiliar situation.
With all football on hold Australia-wide until at least May 31 due to the COVID-19 crisis, opportunities for Murray Bushrangers players to put their names up in lights will be limited.
All training has been suspended until that date and with new restrictions this week to close all gyms, individuals will find it increasingly difficult to stay in top condition if the season does in fact resume when planned.
Albury young gun Charlie Byrne had put together a strong pre-season, starring in the Bushies' final practice match against Bendigo Pioneers before the postponement came into play.
With the uncertainty around the AFL community at present, it's unsure how this year's national draft will look, so an impressive pre-season could be enough to land Byrne a spot on a list.
"We're obviously not playing as many games as we would like, but I think the practice games were a good eye-opener, especially for all the new players," Byrne said.
"It was a good hit-out (against Bendigo), unfortunately for us it's the only one for a few weeks.
"The main thing about the whole situation is that it has happened to everyone. It's not a disadvantage or advantage to anyone.
"I'm going to be a leader in this instance and make sure no-one goes backwards and gels with everyone.
"Everyone is trying to make some good from the bad news."
Byrne played at half back in 2019 and learned off one of the country's best under-18 players in Lachie Ash, who went to GWS with pick four in the national draft.
"I only got to play two practice matches, but I found myself playing in the midfield which I was quite happy about," Byrne said.
"The first game I went onto half back after half-time. I played there my bottom-age year, so I was quite used to it.
"But the midfield is a nice position. You have to learn running both ways and your fitness has to be at a whole new level, but thankfully I got the option to play midfield and get the ball, which is the best part of football.
"My first year (with the Bushrangers) was a big eye-opener, but playing alongside Lachie was amazing.
"Coming up to Bushrangers, I'd played half back, but never as much as I did in my bottom-age year.
"Learning off such a great player in Lachie, I now know that role and I brought that game into my top-age year.
"Looking at all the top-age boys from last year, seeing their leadership and seeing what I'll have to do in my top-age year, it really gave me a great perspective on what needs to be done.
"I think the majority of the bottom-agers from last year know what to do and no doubt it will be a great leadership group this year."
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Byrne doesn't turn 18 until October, but is still eligible for this year's draft.
He admitted training individually will be a lot harder, but he's confident he and the rest of the group can do what needs to be done.
"The coaching staff at the Murray Bushrangers have basically identified what players need to work on over this two-month period," Byrne said.
"As a collective, we're all switched on and I think all of us can go back and work on what we can. Two months is plenty of time to work on fitness, speed and strength so we can become faster, fitter and stronger.
"Obviously AFL clubs are looking at different aspects for people in their game, so people can go back and work on that.
"The main focus for me is to get drafted, but I'm also striving for my team and being the best we can all be."
Season 2020 was shaping to be an exciting one for Ben Ashley-Cooper.
The Finley product started studying physiotherapy at La Trobe University in Wodonga and had signed with reigning Ovens and Murray premiers Lavington, planning to taking his game to another level with the Bushies.
Ashley-Cooper said the travel was also a factor in the tough decision to depart Finley, where he had played all his football up until that point.
That in itself was a huge challenge, but he could never have imagined what he and the rest of the football community are now facing.
"It's something you've got to take in your stride really. We're a pretty resilient group, but after all the preparation you've put in to go into round one, it's pretty disappointing," Ashley-Cooper said.
"You've just got to roll with what you've got, keep moving forward and hopefully come into when we can play and be as best prepared as possible.
"There's been lots of changes with starting uni and changing clubs, but there's nothing really you can do about it at the moment.
"Hopefully we still get a chance to play some footy and have a bit of fun."
Ashley-Cooper said pre-season was a lot more intense this time around than in his bottom-age year.
"A lot of the boys were coming in fit and strong, so it was shaping to be a pretty exciting year," he said.
"I'm hoping to play a bit through the middle and off half back, but you've got to get a game each week first.
"Nothing is guaranteed at this level. Everyone is vying for spots.
"I just want to play consistently and help the team out. I'll see where that leads us when we get to playing, but who knows when that will be at the moment."
The story of the pre-season before the virus intervened was the injury to Elijah Hollands, which Ashley-Copper said hit the playing group hard.
"Moving over to Wodonga, Elijah and I have grown closer and become good friends," Ashley-Cooper said.
"Hearing about his injury was devastating. He's put in a lot of work over the last few years and it won't hold him back too much.
"He's a hard-working fella, so he'll get back in there and attack all his rehab.
"It's disappointing he won't be on the field, but he'll still have a good impact off the field for sure."
Byrne added he was "in denial" when he was first told about Hollands' setback.
"I saw people posting Elijah had been injured and I thought 'it's probably just an ankle and hopefully he'll be back in a few weeks', but when I found out it was an ACL, I had to sit there for a minute to process that he wasn't going to play this year," he said.
"He knows how to get the ball and he knows how to use it. His skills are flawless, he draws players and brings others into the game.
"I had to sit there and think 'who's going to be the next Elijah?' because it's a massive task and a massive role to fill.
"I think it's hard to come across another player like him, so I think we're going to have to work even harder as a team, but we have that inspiration behind us for him."
Byrne has faith this year's Bushrangers group can overcome all the adversity and have a successful season.
"When we go into the games, we'll use all that frustration and excitement out on the field. Bushies this year have gelled so well and there's no reason why we can't play finals," he said.
The Murray Bushrangers' under-18 squad for the 2020 season is as follows:
Albury: William Bowden, Charlie Byrne, Fletcher Hart, Cameron McLeod, Patrick Parnell and Daniel Turner;
Cobram: Izac Artavilla, Harry Beasley and Brodey Rudd;
Corowa-Rutherglen: Will Chandler and Ryan Eyers;
Euroa: Benjamin Bath and Thomas Panuccio;
Henty: Toby Murray;
Lavington: Benjamin Ashley-Cooper, Logan Berryman, Nick Brennan, Macca Hallows, Clayton Marsh and Charlie Sanson;
Mooroopna: Achaung Agog and Tom Brown;
Myrtleford: Dominic Bedendo, Declan Bren and Charlie Crisp;
Numurkah: Joshua O'Dwyer;
Seymour: Sam Durham and Hudson Kaak;
Shepparton: Ethan Baxter, Jayden Gagliardi, Connor Hangan and Matthew Pellegrino;
Shepparton Swans: Diesel Batey, Joshua Rachele and Ethan Warburton,
Shepparton United: Bowen Calogero, Kade Chalcraft, Jhett Cooper, Zavier Maher, Kaedyn Napier and Sean Thompson;
Wangaratta: Hunter Gottschling and Tyler Norton;
Wodonga: Noah Bradshaw, Elijah Hollands, Hamish O'Brien and Rhys Venturoni;
Wodonga Raiders: Tom Bracher, Jake Hodgkin and Declan Everett;
Yarrawonga: Nick Irvine, Ned Pendergast and Jett Smith.