IT'S all about peaking at the right time of the season - just ask the Bathurst Bushrangers.
Their under 12s and 14s sides head into this Sunday's grand finals against the Orange Tigers each on an impressive winning run over the past month.
While they both had their stumbles earlier in the season the Bushrangers teams in the two youngest competitive age groups have proven incredibly hard to contain.
The Tigers may be the minor premiers in both competitions though recent form suggests the Bushrangers will be the teams to beat on the last day of the season at George Park 1.
Bushrangers' under 14s are on a five-game winning streak heading into the big day and the latest of those wins came against their grand final opponents.
Coach Steve Grundy said his team have been superb through the whole season, though lately they've really started to piece everything together.
"We started with a big loss and it looked like it was going to be a tough season for them but we've recruited well through the season and our players have continued to improve with every game. We've got some great momentum going into the weekend," he said.
"I've had some fantastic young players come over from other sports. A big positive is seeing how many players have come across to give something new a go and really excel at it."
Once those new to the game got to grips with the intricacies of the sport then there was no looking back for the Bushrangers.
"I myself as a kid came over to the game from soccer and basketball and those skills translate over. If you can run, catch and kick then all you have to do is refine that," Grundy said.
- READ MORE: AFL Central West: Bathurst Lady Bushrangers and Dubbo Demons to fight it out in preliminary final
- READ ALSO: AFL Central West: Bathurst Giants to host Dubbo Demons in preliminary final
- READ ALSO: AFL Central West juniors: Bathurst Giants hope to ice impressive season with a grand final win over Tigers
"They're great tacklers and very aggressive on the footy. It's become a trademark of our play this year. We're a real contested ball team and if we can get the ball in that forward 50 more often then not then we're going to score."
It would have been hard for the Bushrangers to imagine playing grand final football after their 66-point loss to rivals Bathurst Giants back in round one, where they failed to score a single point.
But the recruitment and commitment to practice has put the Bushrangers into title hopefuls.
Over their last two games they've kept their opponents to just a single goal each while kicking 15 of their own across that same time span.
"We probably played by far our best game of the season last week," Grundy said.
"I said after the game it's all well and good to do that but it won't count for much if we can't do it again this weekend We're keen to try and go even better and we're confident we can get the result."
Alex Sparks' under 12s side also boasted limited Aussie rules experience coming into 2020 but they quickly took a liking to the game.
The team lost three competitive games to start the season and once they got their first win against the Bathurst Giants there was no looking back.
They went on to win their next four games to climb their way up the ladder and finish the year in second place.
Not a single win this year could be considered a blowout in favour of the Bushies. They've had to work hard for every minute of their matches to take the points.
Sparks said the team have learned the ropes of AFL in impression fashion.
"It's great to see them have a bit of fun and make it into the big dance," he said.
"We have so many people who have never played AFL before, maybe outside of the Paul Kelly Cup, so to start 0-3 then finish the season the way we have is fantastic. The more confidence they have then the more fun they have.
"I'd say it'd be around 50 per cent who hadn't played before. Hopefully they all stick with it and, in regards to room for improvement, the ceiling is very high for them.
"We're very lucky to have so many players rock up to training. The more they practice as a team the more they bring it on game day. Everyone's got a really great attitude, and with an under 12s side you can't ask for much more than that."
It's a great turnaround season for the Bushrangers under 12s and 14s who missed out on last year's grand final day.
The under 12s clash starts from 9.30am while the under 14s game follows at 11am.