Jim Kelly knows not everyone in his position would have made Maclay Ryan captain of the Macquarie Raiders' Youth League side this season.
But the coach had no hesitation in giving it to the prop with little leadership experience, and he's being rewarded in a big way.
Outside some ill-discipline in the second half Ryan was sensational on Saturday as the Raiders got one over Dubbo rivals CYMS and took control of Western Youth League's Northern Pool.
Ryan showed brute strength when powering over for two tries while he led a physical Raiders pack which crunched an under strength CYMS side time and time again throughout the 28-24 win.
"That's what he brings," Kelly said of his prop's strength.
"He's tough. A couple of his shots went a bit high but if we get that out of the game we'll be right.
"I didn't think there was any bad ones. They just slipped up."
CYMS started the better on Apex and scored first through Fletcher Haycock but Ryan soon crashed his way over from close range to level it up at at 6-all.
Errors and penalties began to creep into the game during the second 15-minute quarter and while a Noah Ryan penalty got CYMS back in front the Raiders big men soon got on a roll.
A break from back-rower Macauley Ryan along the left edge led to Brandon Hamilton crossing and then the older Ryan showed his power again when muscling his way across to help the Raiders to an 18-8 half-time lead.
CYMS struck first in the second half through tough prop Charlie Holman but a strong shot from Raiders skipper Ryan forced a CYMS error from the kick-off and the youngsters in blue marched downfield and scored through Nathan Walker.
Tries were swapped before the final quarter and there a towering bomb from Blake Merritt was allowed to bounce and Sonny Knight plucked it and scored to put Macquarie in total control at 28-18.
Haycock grabbed his side after the full-time siren when brilliantly chasing through a bomb but it was only a consolation.
"It's just those mistakes," Kelly said post-game.
"We've got to get out and once we do that we'll be right. If we don't we'll be in trouble."
While disappointed to see his side go down in a derby contest, CYMS coach Bret Fisher remained proud and upbeat post-game.
The Fishies didn't have a full bench for the entire game due to injuries and some younger players on under 16s duty in Cobar.
But the effort was there for the full 60 minutes, epitomised late in the game by Noah Ryan chasing down a flying Hamilton and dragging him into touch and also Haycock's sprinting chase to haul in the bomb and score.
"It was right to the death we chased that kick and we never gave up. The boys were hanging in," Fisher said.
"I think it was a tremendous effort. It was 13 on 20-odd and we hung in there and went try-for-try all game but you can't do that.
"Macquarie is a quality side but with half a bench or a few there I reckon we would have got them."