TIMBOON Demons footballer Dylan Smith is well on the way to ticking off his season goals.
The 17-year-old utility had two ambitions to achieve in his first full season playing senior Warrnambool and District league football.
The first was to cement his spot in the side. The second was to play in the midfield, against opponents much bigger than himself.
So far, so good. The season is four rounds old but Smith, one of a host of emerging footballers at the Demons has already ticked off both.
“It’s been pretty good. We haven’t got any wins on the board but I was in the best the first three weeks,” he said.
Smith is one of about half a dozen young players who have forced their way into Timboon Demons’ senior side under coach Brendan Hickey.
The decision to blood youngsters and lay the foundation for future success has come with its battles, notably the Demons’ 0-4 record.
But those at the club can see the bigger picture. The season might prove a long one but the improvement from week to week will be obvious.
“It’s good to know we’ve got a young group and we’ll improve each week,” said Smith, whose brother Ryan, 15, is likewise making headway in the side.
“By the end of the year, who knows, we might even come and knock off these better sides. It’ll take one game for all of us to click and play well.
“We’ve stuck with Panmure and Dennington for the first half and they were last year’s grand finalists.”
Smith, who stands at 172 centimetres and weighs 63 kilograms, made his senior debut against Deakin University last season as a still-eligible junior.
The sole match, which the Demons won by 40 points, gave him a taste of the big time but proved how much he still had to learn and develop.
“It showed me how much different it is (to juniors) and the step-up with bigger bodies, what I’ll have to do to play senior football for a long time,” he said.
Having sensed an opportunity was there, Smith was a regular presence at pre-season training during the summer.
His dedication earned him a call-up for round one. He has contributed at half-back, on a wing and in the midfield and is yet to look back.
“Brendan has been really good. I’ve done a bit of work with him on the side as a job (as part of a VCAL placement),” he said.
“We spend a bit of time in the vehicle so we have a chat about football. He’s been really good as a teacher.
“We don’t really have the players to be a top-running side but we’re making the most out of what we’ve got, trying to be positive.”
Timboon Demons host East Warrnambool at Timboon Recreation Reserve today. The Bombers are flying high after two wins to start the season.