OSBORNE'S leaders stood up, but the contribution of its many youngsters was crucial in the side's first-up AFL Riverina Championship victory over Wagga Tigers at Robertson Oval.
And no one was more impressive than 16-year-old ruckman Nick Madden, who played superbly at the centre bounces in the 15-point victory.
Ostriches coach Joel Mackie said in the lead-up to the game he had to be reminded how young his team was before the match.
But the Hume league newcomers defied all outside expectations to shock the Tigers at home.
Madden said the butterflies were fluttering when Mackie told him at training last Thursday he'd be playing in the main event.
"It was a bit of a surprise and I didn't expect it. I was just happy to get the chance," Madden said.
"I was a bit nervous going into it, but I settled into it alright and it was pretty quick footy.
"Joel just wanted me to play my role, to talk and to construct. I definitely feel more comfortable now (after the match), the nerves are gone.
"I reckon the six-game season this year will be a good chance to just get a feel for it."
Madden said the side showed strong resolve to respond after the Tigers nailed three straight goal to take the lead in the third quarter.
"When they hit back in the third quarter the boys did really well to find a couple of goals, and Joel gave us the go ahead at three quarter time to go out and finish it off," Madden said.
"We were definitely underdogs coming in, so it was good to get the win.
Osborne has dealt with a tumultuous build-up after AFL Riverina gave them the green light to play in the competition after the Hume League was cancelled.
But Mackie insisted he felt confident the young players could step up and ensure they're accountable in the one-off, six-round season.
"I had full faith in our list. Obviously a few things have gone against us the last few weeks, but we've picked up a few along the way and we have to roll with the punches at the moment," he said.
"Nick Madden showed he belongs out there."
Meanwhile, Osborne's stocks could be bolstered for this weekend's clash against MCUE.
The fitness of big forward George Alexander and beanpole ruckman Jack Driscoll will be assessed after they suffered injuries in the lead-up to last weekend.
Azzi medallist Jamie Parr remains sidelined after rupturing his ACL last season.
The Ostriches are unlikely to take any risks with his comeback.
Osborne is hoping travel recommendations from the government will change in coming weeks which would allow Mackie, Elliott Powell and Zach Bye to play.