IT'S been a testing season for the Muswellbrook Rams, having to drop their first grade side due to a lack of numbers, however the atmosphere within the club is still one of immense positivity, according to one its brightest talents.
Fullback Jacob Button is just 18 years old, but is leading a line of exciting prospects who are getting increased opportunity at senior level in 2019.
He took the time to speak to The Chronicle in between his sporting commitments and work duties at Harvey Norman warehouse, and revealed the high spirits the squad has been in this year.
"It's been really good actually, there's been a good vibe around the boys and we've had a couple of first graders come back, so that's been great," he said.
"Our first win together [was a highlight], heaps of people wrote us off at the start of the season saying 'they have no first grade so they won't be much', so we came out and proved everyone wrong."
The team has enjoyed reasonable success in Bengalla Hunter Valley Group 21 Rugby League thus far, sitting in fourth place following a strong run of form over the past month, which culminated in a victory of ladder leaders Merriwa at the weekend.
They have done this while providing more responsibility to players like Button, who has been converted from a hooker since debuting for seniors in 2017.
He said learning a new position had been difficult but the more experienced members of the squad had provided quality advice that has helped him settle into the role.
While the chances he's getting in reserve grade are ideal for the youngster now, he admitted it would be an honour to play in the firsts and is looking to stay with the Rams to help them achieve that.
"Definitely, 100 per cent I'll be hanging around to see that happen," he said.
But, for now, Button is simply looking forward to the upcoming 'Magic Round', which will see 35 matches ranging from under-6s through to first grade playing in Scone over Friday night and Saturday.
It's part of the Where There's a Will round, which the teenager said holds special significance to the club and the competition.
"It is massive for the Rams with this rivalry between Muswellbrook and Scone," he stated.
"And, it's very close to our hearts with how Where There's a Will started, so it'll be good to have the day out there."
Other fixtures for the round will see seventh-placed Murrurundi host Merriwa, Aberdeen playing cellar-dwellers Denman, and Greta-Branxton travelling to take on Singleton.
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