Canberra midfielder Jarrod Osborne says the side’s brigade of youngsters have helped drive the standards at the club with several experienced Demons' sidelined.
Canberra's young guns stood up brilliantly in Saturday's thrilling draw with Sydney University at Phillip Oval.
The 20-year-old was was particularly effective, stepping up to the plate in the absence of stars Aaron Bruce, Mitch Maguire, Tom Highmore and Angus Baker.
"We knew it was going to be a challenge going in to the game having both our captain and two vice captains out as well as other experienced figures," Osborne told canberrademons.com.au.
"Having said that though it provided a great opportunity for others to prove themselves and show their capabilities.
"To have fourteen players 21-years or younger out there on Saturday and still be able to produce a great fight was definitely something to be proud of."
That is not to say the club’s experienced heads didn’t also play a key part in the draw as former captain Jordan Harper, Sam Martyn, Andrew Swan and Alex Smout also impressively led from the front.
Osborne was named Canberra's best claiming 30 disposals, six marks, five tackles and a goal, labelling his performance as the one of the best games he's played.
"I think it would definitely be up there with one of the best games I have played.
"I've been working a lot on getting that balance between not only the inside game but then also being able to find the ball around the ground which I feel was what helped me find more of the ball than have so far this year.
"As far as having an impact upon a game I think that was the best I have had since coming to Canberra."
An entertaining final quarter finished with Sydney forward Nick Foster kicking a goal to level the score with just seconds remaining.
Osborne said it was mixed emotions post-game, but there are positives to take out of the match.
"Saturday was the first time I'd ever played in a drawn game and it is certainly a very strange feeling, almost bittersweet," Osborne said.
"The mood after the game was almost just a grim as a loss considering we knew just how close we were and that we only needed that little bit extra to get the win.
"Having said that, to come out and kick the first four goals of the fourth quarter, giving ourselves a great chance of winning was a positive we can take out of the game."
Canberra sit at four wins and seven losses in 8th position on the ladder and Osborne admits every game from here on in is crucial if the club are to play finals football in September.
"It is almost do or die for us in terms of the season now," he said.
"With essentially three teams to fill one spot we will have to win the majority of our remaining games to give us a shot at September football.
"It'll need to start this weekend with Redland."
Canberra clash with Redland this Saturday afternoon at Manuka Oval from 12pm AEST.