He might still be at school but Mitch Watts looked far from out of place in the senior footy environment as Tamworth accounted for Armidale on Saturday to make it two-from-two to start the season.
Playing at blindside breakaway, the teenager was, much to his surprise, adjudged the Magpies best in the 30-17 win. He thought there were more worthy candidates for the three points, and was just happy enough to be out there.
After getting a bit of a taste last year, the Calrossy student said cracking a regular spot in first grade was a goal for this season and he worked hard over the off-season to get his body right for the rigours of first grade football.
That meant a lot of time in the gym, with Watts from his experience last year recognising that he needed to bulk up a bit.
"There's big men in this first grade stuff," he said.
"(And) These big bodies, they're running harder, they're faster, they're stronger."
Saturday was his first test in that regard and he certainly didn't shirk away from the challenge.
"I thought he had a great game. He did lot of work at the bottom today," Magpies coach Peter Burke said.
"Getting him out of the second row and putting him on the side freed him up to that."
"He gave away a couple of penalties but around the paddock he had a sensational game."
As for Watts, he is thoroughly enjoying it.
"We've got a new influx of players here," he said.
"There's a good vibe around training and we're trying new stuff."
"We've got plenty of potential. We haven't hit our potential yet."
They showed some glimpses of that potential on Saturday and if a few passes had of stuck they could have probably had another three or four tries but that execution just wasn't quite there, particularly in the backs.
As Burke commented they looked like a team that hadn't played together. In some respects they hadn't with a couple of new faces and some positional changes.
The forwards in contrast really stepped up their game.
"I thought they were very very good," Burke said.
"I was expecting the Blues to be quite tough in that area and I think our forwards won that battle."
They really set the tone at scrum time, and from early in the game, monstering the Blues the first scrum and earning a penalty. One of the best feelings you can have as a forward, Watts said that penalty really fired them up to "lift it another gear".
From there they spent the better part of the next 20 minutes camped in the Blues' half but were unable to capitalise until fullback Tevita Pecili Lagimiri sliced through. Tex as he is better known, was at it again late in the half to give the Magpies a 12-7 lead at half-time after the Blues had eventually worn down their defences (they held the home side up over the line twice) to hit the front with 10 minutes remaining.
After a penalty apiece to start the second half winger Kabati Matanakilagi bumped off the defence to push the Magpies out to a 10-point advantage. That then became 15 when Harry Mills produced an effort sure to see him kicked out of the front rowers club, the prop picking the ball up from the ruck and racing away 20m to score.
The Blues did have the final say, Navi Tiko scoring in the final couple of minutes. It was some consolation for what was a whole-hearted effort.
"It was just one of those games where Tamworth outplayed us in key parts and that disrupted us along with the injuries (they lost three front rowers in the first 20 minutes)," Blues co-coach Luke Stephen said.
"But the guys showed a lot of heart, they kept going and we'll just rebuild and move forward."
Elsewhere, the Coffs Harbour Knights scored a late try to share the points with Walcha 31-all, Albies thrashed Barbarians 52-5 and Robb College overcame a tenacious Glen Innes 27-19.