Midfielder Bryce Bafford believes the FFA Centre of Excellence is back to its best after demolishing the Riverina Rhinos 12-0 on Saturday afternoon.
The youngster made a successful return from a torn hip rotator as his side put the pressure on league leaders Canberra Olympic heading into the final three games of the year.
The victory comes as a welcome relief for the academy after a week of frustrating results against Tuggeranong United and Gungahlin United.
Bafford missed close to two months with the injury but says he is ecstatic to be back.
"I haven’t played for six or seven weeks so getting 30 minutes into the legs was good," Bafford said.
"It's good to see we can show what we're made of. We had a hiccup but I think we're back to our best.
"It was a good game to come back into the side."
Bafford enjoyed a stellar start to the season netting four times in five games before being sidelined.
Despite the season winding to an end, the midfielder says he's determined to end his time at the academy with more positive results.
"I just want to play a part in winning all these games and having a good end to the season and our time here.
"I want to play my best and show people what I can do."
Before Bafford's injury he developed a strong midfield partnership with self described 'partner in crime' Louis D'Arrigo.
It's the second season the duo has played together after both signing with the FFA Centre of Excellence at the start of 2016.
They both say they have confidence in each other's ability and have trust in what each other can do.
"It’s good to be back playing with all the boys but him especially," Bafford said.
"[Before the injury] I felt like me a Louis were going to keep working off each other and getting better because of one another."
"It was great to have him back on the pitch and back playing along side me," D'Arrigo said.
"It was disappointing not to have him on the pitch for most of the year."
D'Arrigo was one of five players to score multiple goals in the annihilation of Riverina.
The midfielder netted two of the academy’s nine second-half goals in what he described as a confidence-boosting win.
"The performance from the team today was great," D'Arrigo said
"It gives us a lot of confidence going into the next game against Canberra FC. In our last 2 games we didn't put away our chances so it was good to see we did today."