It has been a season of steady improvement for former Horsham Saint Mitch Martin.
Martin joined SANFL reigning premier Glenelg this year, to test himself in one of Australia's premier state leagues.
He said it had been a "massive step up" from the Wimmera league and under-18 NAB League.
"From playing against kids your own age to blokes who used to be on an AFL list, it is tough," Martin said.
"But it's been enjoyable and you learn heaps along the way.
"I'm just trying to learn as much as I can from all the good players in the league and everyone at the club."
Amid a tumultuous year, Martin said he considered himself lucky to be playing football.
"I'm extremely grateful. I'm definitely not taking anything for granted," he said.
"It has helped keep a bit of that hunger in your belly, knowing there are a lot of people back home that haven't got that chance. I'm really lucky."
Martin admitted it had been challenging to be separated from his family and friends back in Victoria, as South Australia maintains an iron border between the two states.
Martin however said Glenelg had offered fantastic support.
"Obviously its had its challenges. I think mum and dad would have loved to be coming over here to watch me play every weekend. But Glenelg has been such a great family club," he said.
"We have about 11 or 12 boys from interstate, so we all catch up pretty regularly, and they've become like a mini family for me.
"It's been tough, but the whole club has been really good, and I've made a lot of friends."
Helping Martin both on and off the field has been Glenelg's contingent of former AFL players.
Martin said former Melbourne Demon Billy Stretch, West Coast Eagle Luke Partington, Richmond Tiger Liam McBean, and Port Adelaide's Marlon Motlop had all offered valuable guidance.
"You can bounce ideas off those blokes and learn a lot," Martin said.
"Especially coming out of under-18s, you think you know a fair bit, but when you start talking to these guys, they show you a lot more than you could have imagined.
"It's a bit of everything really - footy stuff, team stuff, but also individual stuff. Trying to make you a better person and a player.
"Especially moving over from Horsham and having no family over here, they've helped in teaching me about life as well.
"My footy still has a long way to go, but it's been a lot of fun so far."
Martin is yet to break into the senior side this year, but said he was happy to be patient for his chance.
"I really feel like I've made the right choice with Glenelg. I haven't played a league game this year, but the team is really quality and it's hard to get into," he said.
"They just won the flag, so they have got a lot of really quality players. I know in a couple of years, I'll get my chance.
"I'm not really fussed about not getting game. It's just about learning and improving."
Both Glenelg's senior and reserves sides face a tough fight for finals, needing to win both of their final two games of the season to make the top four.
"It's a good feeling around the club at the moment," Martin said.
"Both sides had a poor week last week, but it's a good feeling now. We're both in the hunt, and have a chance to get where we wanted when we started training back in November."
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