Wodonga Raiders' youngest player believes a home win over Wangaratta Rovers on Saturday will convince the league they're a genuine finals contender.
Schoolboy Max Beattie had his breakout senior game in the stunning upset over Myrtleford last week, kicking three goals in the 10-point thriller.
The Saints are considered a top three contender, along with Rovers.
"This will be the real challenge, Rovers beat the Magpies, if we can knock them off, it will prove to everyone it's not just a one-off beating a good team, we can actually go with the best of them," he explained.
While North Albury is the league's youngest team, with an average age of just 20.2 years, around two-thirds of Raiders' team is 21 or younger, although three of those players will miss the match in Dylan Clarke (suspended), Tom Bracher (sore) and Northern Territory recruit Tyrrell Lui (ankle injury).
The team's oldest player in Shane Munro returns from a week off with a calf complaint, while another seasoned campaigner in Lachie Flagg (at 24) is back after a three-week break through injury.
Beattie is completing his HSC year and just 17, but is a well spoken and mature youngster.
He played a major role in the win over Myrtleford, which had everything to play for as it was hosting the club's only premiership reunion from 1970.
"We just ran them off their legs in the last quarter, obviously they had the 50-year anniversary (held over from last year due to COVID), but it also gave us a boost, we want to go out there and be the villain and spoil that," he offered.
It also gave us a boost, we want to go out there and be the villain and spoil that.Max Beattie on playing Myrtleford during its 50-year premiership reunion last week
Beattie's mindset and that of his team-mates shows the fierce competitiveness that belies the choir boy looks of some of them.
"We were all up and about, we thought it was a great win because obviously Myrtleford's one of the top teams, especially how young our team is, we've put together three wins in a row," Beattie revealed after Myrtleford had led for most of the game.
Raiders have come so far from their first hidings against Wangaratta and Lavington respectively, but the Hawks' lineup is closer to the one which stunned the league by toppling red-hot premiership fancies Wangaratta than that upset by the winless Yarrawonga.
The return of boom VFL midfielder Tyler Roos is an enormous boost as he was averaging 44 disposals in the first three games, while Sydney Swans' VFL player Ryan Hebron's an emergency, although he did play the first time he was named there.
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The match starts at 1.10pm.
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