Burnside Heights could not have imagined how well they would start the Essendon District Football League division 2 season.
While the Bears were expecting to be big improvers this season, a 5-0 start to the year was not on the radar.
They are on track for their best ever season, beating last year when they won seven games.
Bears president Justin Peagram said they were thrilled.
“It’s beyond what we had hoped for,” he said. “We’re ahead of schedule.
“We’ve played a few of the top teams and taken the challenge to play some good football.
“We had hoped to be 4-1.
“We’ve set the challenge high and now we have to maintain it. It’s a long season.”
Peagram said one of the biggest differences this year was the extra depth in the squad.
While they didn’t go out and recruit stars, they recruited players to play certain roles.
“We didn’t have depth last year, it makes a big difference.
“It’s benefited guys who played last year.
“It’s released Adam Sullivan and Jordan Hughes. It’s given them extra support and has allowed them to take the bull by the horns.”
After some big challenges in recent weeks, the Bears had a big win against Keilor Park 34.14 (218)-5.1 (31).
The Bears focused on the smaller things going into the match.
“It wasn’t about the score, it was about playing to a structure,” Peagram said.
“We know that it can get messy in these games.
“For three quarters we stuck to the structures.”
Anthony Fawcus was the standout, kicking 15 goals. His efforts meant for a rare occasion league leading goalkicker Josh Covelli had to play second fiddle – not that he didn’t play his role, kicking eight goals himself.
Peagram said it was good to have so many options up forward.
The Bears’ biggest test so far will come this weekend against the undefeated Sunbury Kangaroos.
“[Coach] Aidan [Stott] has gone and watched them a couple of times and they are the benchmark,” Peagram said. “They are strong across the board. We’ll likely have a couple out.
“It’ll be a good test to see where we are at.”
It will be a big day for the Bears, with the club wearing a special guernsey in support of the Breast Cancer Network Australia.
And as well as the three men’s teams all playing the Kangaroos, their women’s sides will play before the seniors game.
It was another hard-fought win for the Bears women’s side in premier division.
The Bears managed to hold off a fast-finishing Hillside, winning 5.3 (33)-4.7 (31).
Kayla Ravanello kicked three goals in the win for the Bears.
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