A new season has bought new fortunes for Whittlesea in the Northern Football League.
Having struggled in division 1 in recent years, the relegated Eagles had an enjoyable start to life in division 2 in the opening round on Saturday.
The Eagles had their biggest win in recent years, beating Epping 23.15 (153)-9.8 (62)
Coach Blair Harvey said the win was a massive confidence booster for the side.
“The boys had a tough year last year,” he said.
“To get the first win gives the side confidence and they sang the song really proudly.
“From where the club has been, it will help build up some confidence.”
While the scoreboard showed nearly a 100-point win, Harvey said the match was a lot closer and the team still had a lot of improvement to make.
“We didn’t play great football until the last quarter,” he said.
“We were scrappy … Speaking to the Epping coach, it was the bigger bodies and experience of being in a higher division [that] helped us.
“The score didn’t reflect the game, they were good for three quarters before we blew it out.”
Harvey said Riley Dyson, Jaron Murphy and Xavier Dimasi all showed the benefits of a big pre-season and were among the best on ground.
Recruits Samuel Indian (four goals) and Lachlan Beattie were others that stood out.
Harvey, in his first season as coach, said he had been happy with how the pre-season played out.
“We recruited a lot of guys who are under 20,” he said. “We needed to build something. We could get guys who are between 33 to 38 who are good footballers, but if we go back to division 1 they won’t go up.
“Even if takes one or two years to go back to division 1, hopefully we’ll have a group that will stick together for 10 years.”
It was a good day all round for the Eagles. Their reserves won by 199 points and their under-19s won by 100 points.
The Eagles this week face Diamond Creek, before facing last year’s runners-up Eltham.
“They are tough games coming up, and hopefully holds us in good stead,” Harvey said.
“Diamond Creek is definitely pushing to play finals and even top two
“Eltham lost on the last kick of the grand final after being the best team all year.”
In other games, Thomastown lost to Eltham 16.7 (103)-7.13 (55).
On Friday night in division 1, Northcote Park was too strong for Bundoora, winning 13.8 (86)-7.9 (51).
In division 3, Laurimar had a big win against Reservoir, 20.21 (141)-8.5 (53). South Morang won a thriller against Kilmore, winning 10.12 (72)-10.6 (66). Mernda lost 15.18 (108)-11.8 (74) to Heidelberg West.