WHILE the Queanbeyan Tigers NEAFL side are struggling in 11th spot on the ladder, their AFL Canberra understudy has shot to the top of the local reserves competition after smashing Belconnen by 71 points last Saturday.
And coach Paul Campbell is confident his men can go all the way to taking their first Canberra title since 2011, putting good performances this season down to composure and the club's development process.
Being the former coach of the club's Rising Stars side- an under 18s league that aims to prepare young players for the higher grades- his number one focus with his players is to get them competitive enough to make the NEAFL squad.
That overall squad is arguably in a developmental phase this season with the losses of experienced players, but Campbell believes it will not take too long for it to be set again.
"A lot of our best guys are only 20 or 21 years old, so they're still young, and they've still got a lot of improvement in them. But we're fast tracking them and bringing them up," he said.
While his team has benefited from some retired NEAFL experience, such as 200-game club member Neil Irwin, they also field a high number of players that train with the NEAFL side including Sean Wilkinson, Michael Wescombe, Brandon Lagana, Stephen Camp, Mitchell Gorman, Ben Fulford and Campbell Griggs, each of whom have fired this season.
"NEAFL co-coaches Josh Bryce and Kade Klemke have both been exposed to the Victorian Football League and that professionalism, and I think these young guys are adapting to those standards," he said.
Campbell said he had also benefited from players keeping fit this season and being able to keep them in their preferred positions.
"We had a lot of turn over last year and we know it'd be a 12-month process, but the rewards are paying off now."