New look teams in round one provided football followers with a taste of the North Gippsland season to come.
For some the opening round showed there was plenty of improvement needed, while for others it was an opportunity to refine facets of their game plan as they look to gain the winning edge.
Cowwarr v Rosedale
Cowwarr is renowned for its slow starts and coach Luke Cooper may have had a sense of deja vu after the Saints were again troubled in the season opener.
However, Cooper said he was not too concerned, noting that there was a number of positives to come from a first up loss.
“Churchill got on top of us halfway through the second quarter, we fought back in the third but couldn’t get the goals on the board; Chris Stasinowsky and Tim Johnston had their chances but we missed about seven majors for the term,” Cooper said.
“There were some positives that we can take from the game; we had a few new guys in the lineup with new recruit Jordon Sandy best on ground for us, and we fought hard to get back into the game which was a big plus.
“We know how important it is to definitely get off to a good start to the season, but in saying that we are only one game down and someone had to lose.”
Cooper said his team was well aware of the threat last year’s grand finalists Rosedale posed and they were looking forward to hosting the Blues at home.
TTU v Churchill
Traralgon Tyers United started a new era under coach Matt Stolarczyk with a six-goal victory in round one.
This week the Bombers will be further tested when the new-look lineup faces an early challenge from Churchill, which battled with Cowwarr in a tough physical contest.
Lacking consistency in past seasons, the Cougars were ruthless in their four-quarter effort and will need to deliver another consistent performance to overcome a tough Bomber outfit.
Stating ahead of the season “that it was hard to say” exactly where his side was at, Bombers coach Stolarczyk would have been pleased with the points first up and the way in which the side’s new recruits gelled with the squad.
Heyfield v Glengarry
HEYFIELD and Glengarry went down in narrow defeats in round one and will be eager to do all they can to put a win on the board when they meet at the Gordon Street Recreation Reserve.
Inaccuracy in front of goal proved costly for reigning premier Heyfield, which kicked itself out of the contest.
Boasting 28 scoring shots for a return of nine majors, the Kangaroos had plenty of the ball and dominated passages of play but could not match the blow on the scoreboard.
In contrast, Glengarry appeared poised for victory before a final quarter fade out saw the Dogs run over the top of the Magpies.
Notorious for their tough ruthless clashes, both sides will be aware they can ill afford to allow the opposition a sniff or the game may be over by half-time.
Woodside v Gormandale
Unearthing a number of new stars, Woodside’s new-look lineup proved the right combination with the Wildcats running away with the contest last Saturday.
Gormandale has been astute with its recruitment over the break and looks poised to provide fierce competition when the big cats meet.
There will be little let-up for the Tigers with this week’s opponent’s damaging midfield and potent forward line set to cause more headaches for coach Luke Henderson.
Woodside can ill afford to be complacent following its opening victory; the home side will need to deliver another consistent performance to hold off the Tigers.
Sale City v Boisdale/Briag
Starting out strong in its opening clash a young Boisdale/Briagolong outfit made an impression on the opposition with a competitive performance.
In round one the Bombers got good mileage from their new additions against Woodside.
Justin Shears made his mark in front of goals with three majors, Adam Helmke made a welcome return following a season on the sidelines and midfielder Josh Kennedy was instrumental in the engine room.
It does not get any harder than this week when the Bombers meet Sale City which come into the match on the back of a stirring and somewhat unpredictable victory.