"I hope Max doesn't mind me telling this, he was only 16 and hadn't played a senior game of footy yet and he told me he played football 9s with his friends and wanted to know if he could do that one night a week and train with us the other night," Hodgkin chuckled.
"So I had a discussion with him on what I thought of him as a player and his potential and guide him in the right direction and he obviously chose the right direction.
"He's probably only started to really take his football super serious this year."
Beattie doesn't turn 18 until around the same time he completes his HSC exams at Thurgoona's Trinity Anglican College in November, so he was still eligible to play thirds with his mates.
He was only 16 and hadn't played a senior game of footy yet and he told me he played football 9s with his friends and wanted to know if he could do that one night a week and train with us the other night.Jarrod Hodgkin on Max Beattie's pre-season plans
"My goals were, if I was to play thirds. play as well as I could there and hopefully get a few senior games because I wasn't sure if I was going to get any," he offered.
"'Hodgy' told me at the start of that off-season I was on the brink of seniors, but he said I needed a big pre-season, so my goals became to play as many senior games as possible.
"Once he told me that, it makes you want to work harder and prove to him that I was ready for senior footy."
The 179cm, 70kg wingman never looked like missing a senior match.
"His spot in the side was never in question, he was a lock," Hodgkin revealed.
The pacy Beattie played all 13 games, but it was a match-winning performance which caught the eye.
Home club Myrtleford was widely tipped as top three contenders, while Raiders were expected to miss the top five.
The Saints had a bumper crowd celebrating their delayed 50-year premiership reunion and the fans were nervous, but quietly confident, they could hold the youthful Raiders after the visitors trailed by three points at three-quarter time.
But Beattie announced not only his arrival, but the club's as finals contenders, kicking the team's only three goals in the final term for a thrilling 10-point win.
"It was terrific and the message after the game was it wasn't some of our older and better players that won the game for us, it was a couple of young guys and particularly Max," Hodgkin explained.
"When you think we were playing a good side in Myrtleford and for a player of his age to really tear a game apart in the last quarter, it was outstanding."
And Beattie's response to that performance best indicates his competitive streak.
"Because it was their 50-year premiership anniversary, we were there to be the villiains and spoil their party," he suggested.
It takes a strong-minded teenager to have everything set up for a home club victory and to be both willing and clinical enough to steal the win.
"He's got a very high work rate and he's probably the fittest player at our club with his high running capacity," Hodgkin said.
"He's quite clever so he can take his opportunities and even though he's small, he's got very good evasive skills, so he doesn't seem to get himself into too much trouble.
"I think he's going to be a terrific footballer."
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He still has that exciting list and given the club's lost three-time best and fairest Jydon Neagle, those youngsters will need to again lift.
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