Life's good at the top. But no-one ever said it would be easy.
Against the odds, Henwood Park have set Football Wagga's under 13s competition alight this season and are preparing to rise to the challenge to keep it that way.
The Hawks lost six players last year, including five to Wagga City Wanderers in Canberra's NPL Youth competition. But if opposing clubs thought the premiers would be ripe for the picking, they were sorely mistaken.
With the minimum number of players, the Hawks had swept all before them up until last week. They remain unbeaten, although a 2-all draw with Wagga United Swifts brought an end to their winning streak.
"We've only got 11 players so we borrow from the under 12s every week," coach David McGowan said.
"We've done really well but our last two games have been our closest games."
After scoring a mammoth 47 goals in their first six wins, Henwood Park overcame Tumut 3-1 in a tough encounter two weeks ago, before the second-placed Swifts ensured they shared the points.
They're still eight points clear on top of the ladder.
"We'll still finish on top but the boys are starting to feel the breathing on their necks - they're coming at us," McGowan said.
"It's going to be a good finish and we hope we don't get any injuries. But the boys have done really well. They've really stepped up.
"We've really focussed on our first touch and tried to play some football, not just kick-and-chase."
From defenders Will Boland, Cooper Tozer, Xavier Ahern and Blake Twitt, through to a match-winning midfield led by Felix McIntyre, the team has been making hay through striker Ashton Richardson.
He's scored 25 goals this season but with two rounds left, is drawing attention.
"When he gets the ball, they're double-teaming him now so we're coming up with some plans to combat that," McGowan said.
"Obviously Ashton's been playing well banging the goals in but we've got to be able to get him some space...
"It's going to be exciting coming in to finals because we're not head-and-shoulders above anymore. It's neck-and-neck.
"Hopefully the boys can go back to back. Considering the calibre of players we lost, it would be great."