Lou White has had a standout year in the Southern Mallee Giants' engine room, and the hard-running midfielder is hopeful his side's finals run doesn't come to a premature end this weekend.
The 19-year-old impressed with the senior side last season but has found another level in his game after a move closer to the action.
White has been named among the Southern Mallee Giants' best in 15 of the 18 games he's played this season.
"I played a bit on the wing the last few years, but this year I've played a majority in the midfield and swapping forward, which is a good change and has helped my game a bit," White said.
White arrived from the Hopetoun side of the merger and remained committed to his local football club, even when it meant plenty of time spent on the road.
"I was travelling back from Ballarat (for school) for the past few seasons, but I'm back at home now, so I've always been involved with the club," he said.
White is just one of a strong group of players who have returned to play for their hometown team.
"We've got a great group that's carried through from Hopetoun and Beulah. We've got a core group that's stayed around the past six years and played," he said.
"It makes it really enjoyable, especially when we're having a bit of success. It keeps people around, and it's good for the town.
"If they're not local, they're ex-locals who make a bit more effort to come back.
"Having locals you know they're going to play for the club and want the club to keep going and help the town.
"It definitely helps when we can keep our locals around and playing."
White was a member of the Giants side who suffered heartbreak at the hands of Horsham in last season's grand final.
"Most of our group played in it, so most are motivated to get another chance and show that you can win it," he said.
"It's in the back of your mind, but you don't think about it too much.
"It's a bit disappointing, so you just want to make the most of it this year and try to get the win."
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