IT'S true that rugby union attracts people from all walks of life and the Gunnedah Red Devils know that better than most.
In a lineup featuring farmers, miners and everything in between, podiatrist turned breakaway flanker John Madden has found his place.
"This is my second year with the club and is a great place to be," Madden told the Leader.
"Compared to where we were last year, we are in much better place this year.
"Not only with our mood, everyone is really upbeat, but where we are on the ladder as well."
Moving to Gunnedah from Newcastle for work two years ago, Madden said he was familiar with the Central North competition.
"I went to school at Farrer in Tamworth, so moving here wasn't anything to new for me," he said.
"It's obviously a lot quieter here than back in Newcastle, but I have settled in pretty well."
Sharing a house with teammate Dennis Gordon, Madden said he had passed on "plenty of tips" to his teammates.
"I've had quite a few guys come to me with ankle niggles and rehab-related questions," he said.
"To me, it's good to be able to help out my teammates with anything they need off the field that's related to my work. It's great to be able to give back."
On Saturday the fifth-placed Red Devils will tackle their biggest challenge of the season, the top-of-the-table Walcha Rams.
"Walcha is on top of the table for a reason," Madden said.
"They have been the form team all year and last time we played them they gave us a pretty decent touch-up.
"They are a well-drilled team that's played together for a long time and I don't think any team has really been able to hold it over them this season, which is indicative of how well they are going."
With the fourth-placed Pirates taking on the third-placed Narrabri Blue Boars, a victory for the Red Devils could see them move into the top four.
"I am confident our team can match it with anyone," Madden said.
"I think we are good enough to win the competition. It's just a matter of putting it all together and trying to get a consistent team on the park,
"If you look at our playing list this season, I doubt you would find the exact same starting lineup two weeks in a row.
"So if we can get that happening for us there's no telling how far we could go."
Saturday's first grade clash begins at Gunnedah Rugby Park from 3.15pm.