He's only young but Thomas Busch is already making an impact in the Dubbo and District Football Association's first grade flight competition.
The 17-year-old is "probably the first consistent new player" to come into the Dubbo FC Bulls' top side since his brother Jonty, and Kobe Rapley, 21, according to coach Jason Schink.
Normally a left forward, Busch slipped seamlessly into the midfield to fill Rapley's shoes on Sunday, contributing to the Bulls' 3-1 win over the South Dubbo Wanderers.
"Not many players have the skill set that he has," Schink said of the young recruit.
"The amount of ground he covers, he slipped right into the side ... he was a Dubbo City Rangers junior and obviously his brother Jonty and Jack played for us in the past so it was a natural transition.
"I watched him in juniors and he was good but I didn't realise how good and strong he was on the ball until we had a few trials, and he played Challenge Cup.
"He's very mature on the ball and he links really well with Scotty Fox and Nelson Flick through the midfield."
The Bulls dominated possession and converted it early courtesy of Flick, but almost sacrificed the lead when they gave away a penalty shot just before half time.
But keeper Neil Roberts came up with "a big time save", saving it with his legs after the Wanderers' shot-taker tried to send him the wrong way.
"The trick is with the younger teams, you can't give them a sniff," Schink said.
South Dubbo did equalise through another penalty just after half time, but they couldn't match the Bulls for possession.
Dane Gardiner scored the match winner when he took to the field, before Matthew Lovedee sealed the result.
The win continues the Bulls strong start to the 2019 after they downed Orana Spurs 2-1 in the season opener - and the inaugural match of the Robert Hughes Memorial Shield.
Schink hoped the win would continue the Bulls' momentum going into the general bye over Easter, and round three's clash against competition heavy weights Macquarie United FC on April 28.
"We'll go in and play our game and see how they react to us," he said.
Schink pointed to central midfielder Glen Schein as the key to beating the Blues.
"He runs their whole team," he said.
"Our go-to man [to stop Schein is] Scott Fox - we used him on [Orana Spurs'] Jake Grady in the first round.
"He's getting a bit old but he can still do the job that's needed."
The disjointed start to the season continues with another general bye on May 5, before the Bulls face Newtown Saints on May 12 and Westside Panthers on May 19.
There's more general byes on May 26 and June 9.
Schink hoped the Bulls could continue their strong start, but he wasn't getting carried away.
"We've lost three grand finals after being undefeated in the regular season in the last 10 years, so we don't worry about the regular season too much," Schink said.