With competition for spots heating up at South Warrnambool, Liam Mullen has added motivation to perform in Saturday's round 17 clash against Cobden.
The reliable defender has been named to play his first Hampden league senior game of the season, with work commitments and a European holiday limiting his availability.
Mullen has played the past two games in the reserves and is hoping to seize his opportunity for the premiership front-runner.
"The form that the boys had certainly motivated me while we were away to try and do as much fitness stuff as I could," he told The Standard.
Mullen conceded he didn't expect to find his way back into the side so quickly.
He was one of five changes to Mat Battistello's line-up, with Jack Dye, Josh Folkes, Sam Thompson and Bailey Osborne replacing Dan Nicholson (rested), Harry Lee (rested), Flynn Wilkinson (under 18s), Jonah Maher (rested) and Luamon Lual (GWV Rebels).
"I kept a pretty close eye on it while we were away and the boys have obviously been flying," he said.
"We've got a few out this week which might have boosted my chances of getting back in. It's going to get pretty tight for spots in finals, just happy to be playing for now and just see what comes of it.
"...obviously we want to try and win a flag but you never really win a flag without a couple of blokes missing out, so it's good to have that competition at the top because if we didn't have that I don't think you're really going to go that far."
A premiership win would cap a memorable few months for Mullen, who eloped with long-time partner Jess while on a 10-week holiday in Europe and the United Kingdom.
The couple kept most in the dark about their wedding plans in the lead-up.
"We knew that was happening but no one else really did," Mullen said.
"It's good to be able to finally tell the family what we'd had planned.
"...we sort of got a wedding and a honeymoon for the price of one."
The Roosters are one win away from clinching the minor premiership with two rounds remaining.
Mullen believes the side is capable of winning its first flag since 2011 but knows it won't come easy.
"I think certainly our best footy is as good as anyone's," he said.
"I guess when it comes to finals it's a different ball-game really. You've got Koroit who have the experience and even North Warrnambool played in a grand final last year and had a really good finals series last year.
"So even finishing on top we know that once you get into those games then it's a level playing field. Finishing on top you do get that added bonus of a week off, so I think that'd be nice for a few of the boys who are a little bit sore at this time of the year. But I think we've certainly got enough there, if we can get everything right when it comes time."
Only Sam Thompson, Nick Thompson and Sam Kelly remain from the successful Roosters' 2011 side, meaning a premiership this year would be extra special for the group.
Mullen, who played in a flag with Ballarat league side Bacchus Marsh in 2016, would love to experience the ultimate glory again.
"Especially with a fresh group with a lot of boys who haven't done it (won a flag) before, it'd be massive," he said.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: