The youth policy implemented by North Companions' new coach, Jackson Zifodya, has instantly worked a treat - with teenage striker Jack Young scoring a brace in a 2-0 opening-round road defeat of Demon Knights.
Young was among four North Companion players who were in Zifodya's under-16 Northie sides the past two years.
Young scored a goal about the midway stage of each half, Zifodya said, with the first coming from an "acute" angle.
Zifodya said Young scored "tons of goals" in the under-16s, and he had "no hesitation" promoting him to the top grade after he played reserve grade last season.
Lachlan Wilson, who also played under-16s for Zifodya, joined Young up front against DK.
Zifodya said he "couldn't fault" Wilson's play on Saturday. "He chased everything [and] how he defended forced them to make mistakes."
The mentor recently revealed that the possession-based, attacking style his junior teams played had been transferred to the top grade. But it was Northies' "composure when not in full control of the game" that impressed him most against Demon Knights.
"My players handled that very well," he said, adding that in general "we controlled the game".
Zifodya described Northies' performance as "fantastic". "We played really well. They all played to what I asked them to go and do."
In other matches, all of which were staged in Armidale, Tamworth FC thumped East Armidale 8-0, while South Armidale and North Armidale drew 0-0.