Wodonga's Josh Mathey is 17, but plays like a 27-year-old.
It's rare to see that level of match maturity in a schoolboy and is one of the reasons the solidly built midfielder has just received a Rising Star nomination.
"It's awesome, it was a bit of a shock, it's great," he enthused.
The Bulldogs' Anzac Day clash against their strongest rival, Wodonga Raiders, highlighted Mathey's coolness.
Wodonga had beaten Yarrawonga a fortnight earlier and given the Pigeons were expected to be a finals contender, the Bulldogs were buzzing.
But the young group failed to handle the hype and kicked just one goal after half-time to fall by 61 points.
Mathey was one of the few to perform.
He doesn't turn until 18 until December, so was still eligible to play in the thirds this year.
But new coach Jordan Taylor liked what he saw.
"Josh's work-rate is his biggest standout attribute and it helped him mentally compete with stronger, older and more experienced O and M footballers. He knows he puts the work in and can then hold his own with everyone," he revealed.
Mathey played all 13 games and featured in the best 11 times, including the first seven games.
"It's an honour to be play for Wodonga, I looked up to every single senior player that's played previously," he offered.
"To show what I can do in the colours, it means everything really."
Mathey's father Darren played for the club and is now the football manager, while his father Leo also represented the club.
The teenager missed selection with the Murray Bushrangers this year, admitting his lack of pace and height (176cms) counted against him.
"I've started doing my pre-season to get ready for it, I'll absolutely give it another crack if they give me a chance," he suggested.
Hard work certainly won't stand in his way of being picked up by the junior representative program, while his composure by hand and foot in traffic in a debut O and M season should also carry some weight.
"Josh doesn't take a backward step on the field, it's all well and good being strongly built, you've still got to put your head over it when it's needed and he does it as well as anyone," Taylor explained.
"And he'll be doing running and ball work for pre-season right now, he just lives and breathes footy."
Mathey is producing those hours to also make it as hard as possible for the Bushies to overlook him again.
"I'm looking to improve my midfield craft," he suggested.
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"I also want to take the next step in my game by playing a couple of different positions, like small forward or off half-back, I want to be more versatile."
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