ARARAT football player Adam Haslett reckons this will be a premiership year for the Ararat Rats' senior side.
The Wimmera League team came close last year, making it through to the finals with third place on the ladder and a percentage of 129.17.
The team hasn't won a premiership since before 2009, but currently occupies second place on the ladder and has won the last three rounds.
"I'm pretty happy with our progress at the moment, and hopefully we can go one better than we did last year and get to the grand final," Haslett said.
"I think it would be the first one we would win since the early 2000s. It will be a long time coming and it would be good if we can get it done."
Still, Haslett said it was too early to start counting eggs.
"There's a long time to go in the season," he said.
The upcoming Round 13 game against the Horsham Saints will be a good indicator of where the side is headed for the rest of the season.
The Saints are one of the teams that have consistently made it to the finals over the past several years, and they defeated the Rats in Round 4 by a slim lead of three points.
"It's a big game, definitely," Haslett said. "We'd like to win. They beat us last time up there and we didn't play our best football."
But Haslett, who plays in the backline, said there will be a few key differences when the two sides face off this time, which could see the Rats tick the Saints off.
"We've got a pretty strong side coming in and we'll be almost full strength again," he said.
This week will see the return of centre half back Dylan Shelley from a Round 4 neck injury and centre half forward Tom Mills, also from injury.
Haslett hurt his ankle in the same Round 4 game and has had to miss about six games this season.
"I've been back for four weeks now, so it's been good," he said. "Getting my fitness back has probably been the main issue."
The Rats will also have the home ground advantage.
"I'm pretty confident we'll be able to beat them this week," Haslett said.
"We sort of let them play on their own terms (in Round 4). They like to keep it low scoring, bottle it up and have a bit of a scrap, but if we get in and get our side out in the open, we should be able to run over the top of them at Ararat."
Haslett has been playing for the club since his junior days and if the side does win this season, it would be his first premiership with the seniors.
"We had a really long period of time there where the senior football side wasn't very successful, and it makes it exciting that we're doing better - it makes you want to stick around and see where the club is going," he said.
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