THE camaraderie of being together as a playing group for six years has kept them strong through the thick and thin, and the Monaro Panthers ACT State League reserve side took out their minor premiership last Saturday.
Fifteen of their players left the Queanbeyan City football club ACT State League squad formed their new team with rival club the Panthers in the reserve grade competition this year, after disagreements with their former club during the pre-season saw them walk away from it.
And they will now aim to win the premiership, which they agree would make a significant statement, after beating Weston-Molonglo 4-2 in the final round to finish on top of the ladder by one goals difference.
They lost just one match in the regular season and along with a draw, won 16 of their 18 games.
Panthers player Andrew McGurgan said it was a great result given how hard the start of the year had been for his men.
"It was hard at the start of the season. Queanbeyan City were a bit dirty with the boys," said McGurgan.
"But we're a really tight group of boys. We don't care which club we play for, just as long as we play together. We've been playing together for so long now."
"I think that camaraderie has really kept us strong this season, which obviously had its distractions, and I think that's why we finished first in the competition."
Former Queanbeyan City coach Vlatko Tomeski returned to coach the team six weeks ago, having spent many seasons with the same group in the past, and McGurgan also said his return had added spark to his team.
"We've had better discipline and found results. Vlatko always wanted us to win the minor premiership, and we did," said McGurgan.
"All we want now is to win the grand final from here. Nothing less than that will be acceptable."
The side will play ANU in the semi-finals at Hackett on Saturday.