The long wait is finally over for the Tamworth Rooster's under-14s and under-17s with the AFL North West junior competition kicking off on Saturday.
The Roosters were split for the opening round with the under-14s playing the newly-formed Gunnedah team in Gunnedah, and the senior boys heading up the highway to Moree.
Although light on for numbers the 17s boys were keen to get back on the paddock and play footy and proved too strong for the Suns running out 14.16 (100) to 2.0 (12) victors.
"It is amazing the difference a year makes with skills and confidence," Roosters team manager Sarah Dadd said.
"We were a young side last year so it was good to see the guys back playing together."
"We have also been lucky enough to pick up a couple of new recruits in Jake Cosgrove and Seth Morony who have slotted nicely into the team."
In his Rooster's debut Cosgrove made a big impression up front kicking five goals, while Morony was "following the flow of the footy really well".
"You don't kick goals if your team-mates aren't doing the hard yards across the field," Dadd said.
"Dusty Hagon, Luke Sing, worked really well with Jack Dadd and Bill Tydd."
[Jack] Dadd kicked four goals and Will George three while Hagon and Elijah Allan supported with one.
"AFL is the ultimate team game, there is just too much ground to cover for one or two players to dominate the play, so when the team clicks it is exciting," Dadd said.
The under-14s were meanwhile gallant in going down 8.8 (56) to 4.6 (30) to the Bulldogs who claimed their first ever competition win in the 14s.
Brody Kelly and Charlie McKenzie kicked a goal each for the Roosters in their first game, while
Standout players for the Tamworth side included Harry Hagon, Josh Vallender and Liam Bramley were among the standout performers.
William Hoppe booted three for the Dogs and was one of their best.
Saturday's games were the Roosters' first without team-mate Jacob Vallender, who passed away late last year and was remembered.
In the other junior games, Inverell claimed wins in both the under 14s - 9.5 (59) to 1.3 (9) - and the under 17s - 22.18 (150) to 1.3 (9) - over Glen Innes.