You don't have to talk footy with James Schischka for long to see why his Bendigo Pioneers team-mates voted him captain for the 2019 NAB League season.
Honest, focused and committed to the cause, the 18-year-old wants to lead the Pioneers out of the bottom rungs of the elite competition.
The early signs are promising. Two rounds into the season the Pioneers are unbeaten and in third place on the ladder - rare air for a club that has finished last or second-last every year since 2009.
"You don't want to be playing footy in a losing side,'' Schischka said.
"Obviously, losing games is a part of footy, but that is not something we want to be known for.
"We want to be seen as a successful team. We've focused heavily on enjoying our footy, both as a team and as individuals, and winning games is a part of that.
"We've set a standard in the way we've played in the first two games and we know we have to meet that standard every week."
Related: your guide to the 2019 BFNL season
The cyclical nature of under-age sport plays a role in the fortunes of clubs.
This year the Pioneers have more depth in their top-age talent than they've had in previous years.
Schischka, who plays across half-back, said the Pioneers' improvement wasn't based on an injection of talent alone.
"The culture has really grown through the pre-season,'' he said.
"All the boys have their head screwed on properly and have put in a lot of work in the pre-season.
"That's shown in the way we've played in our first two games. No-one expected us to be 2-0 and, hopefully, this week we can win our third game."
The Pioneers' third game is their first home match of the season - a date with Gippsland Power at 10am on Sunday at the QEO.
The match is the first leg of a NAB League triple-header at the QEO on Sunday.
In his third year in the NAB League system, Schischka is yet to play in a Pioneers' win on home soil.
"We've won two games away and we want to be a good team on the road, but we also want to make a mark at home,'' he said.
"We want to be extremely hard to beat here and that's something we haven't been for a while.
"With three NAB League games here on Sunday it's a big day, so we want to play well."
BENDIGO PIONEERS v GIPPSLAND POWER
B: 17. L. Fitzgerald, 34. W. Wallace, 14. M. Lias
HB: 52. J. Atley, 10. B. Vaz, 20. J. Schischka
C: 38. B. Rowles, 8. B. Kemp, 19. B. Worme
HF: 59. R. Clarke, 22. J. Treacy, 9. E. Roberts
F: 35. C. Fisher, 24. M. Johnson, 49. C. Vick
R: 11. A. Gundry, 31. R. Ironside, 4. T. Dow
Int: 13. K. Brown, 12. A. Cole, 1. S. Conforti, 5. B. Lee, 6. J. Rodi, 25. W. Shaw, 41. Z. Shelton, 21. R. Wilson
In: R. Clarke, K. Brown, B. Lee
Out: J. Dick-O'Flaherty
B: 10. L. Connolly, 22. Z. Reid, 13. T. Fitzpatrick
HB: 14. T. Hourigan, 12. B. Smith, 29. T. Rees
C: 37. H. Pepper, 4. S. Flanders, 15. R. Sparkes
HF: 20. H. Neocleous, 32. L. Williams, 9. W. Papley
F: 19. F. Phillips, 16. J. Smith, 2. C. Serong
R: 43. Z. Skinner, 11. K. Dunkley, 35. J. van der Pligt
Int: 30. T. Baldi, 7. S. Berry, 26. C. Doultree, 24. B. Maslen, 21. M. McGarrity, 5. F. Shields
Emg: 31. B. MacFarlane, 3. M. McGannon, 23. Z. Soutar
In: C. Doultree, S. Berry, T. Fitzpatrick, M. McGarrity, B. MacFarlane
Out: J. McGrath, C. Comben
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