The first priority for Altona was to get a fast start to the Bowls Victoria premier division season.
The A’s could not afford a repeat of their hellish start to last season if they were to get back into the premiership mix.
“It’s been a bit different to last year, it’s a good start, we’re three and zip, you can’t get much better than that,” A’s skip Brett Foley said.
“Last year we started 0-6 and all the losses just added up on each other and then it starts getting in your head.
“As soon as we won our first one this season, then beat Essendon in round two, we hadn’t beaten them for a few years, it got the ball rolling.”
Altona seems back to its best.
The A’s have opened up with three consecutive wins, including two against sides that will be jostling it out for finals positions.
The 89-58 road victory over Deer Park was one to savour for Altona on Saturday.
The A’s see the Parkers as a genuine threat at the top end of the ladder, but made a statement of their own with a huge win.
“To win all rinks up was a big effort,” Foley said. “We made it a bit of a must-win sort of a game.
“We think they’re going to be one of the better teams this year, so it was a big game for us.
“It was a marking point to see where we’re at.
“We got in front nice and early and that’s what we’ve done the last two games and gone on from there.”
After a rare down year for Altona in 2019, some clubs might have crumbled and seen a mass player exodus.
But the A’s are a tight-knit unit on and off the greens.
“Everyone down at Altona are really good mates,” Foley said. “At least 10 of us have been together for a good six to eight years.
“It’s just adding a couple of players here and there every couple of years.
“We always stick together and that’s the good thing about Altona.
“It’s probably why they’ve had so much success.”
Altona not only managed to retain the bulk of its players, but remained a destination club.
Ocean Grove’s Leigh McIlvenny and Yarraville Footscray’s Ray Coulter joined the A’s in the off season.
McIlvenny is so highly rated at the A’s that he was immediately installed as a skip.
“It’s always good to add a couple of new faces to freshen things up,” Foley said.
The biggest improvement for Altona has come internally.
The individuals that had seasons to forget last year have returned to their best this summer.
“Last year we couldn’t play any worse,” Foley said. “Anyone who wasn’t playing good is playing good now.
“I can’t really put my finger on why.
“Maybe we just had a year off.”
Altona will square off with Yarraville Footscray in the local derby at Altona Bowls Club on Saturday. While the A’s are flying on a 3-0 start, it is the opposite for the Bulldogs, who are struggling in the relegation zone at 0-3. Foley knows those records count for nothing in a derby contest.