Early bragging rights are up for grabs this weekend as the Sunbury Kangaroos and East Sunbury face off for the first time.
The Sunbury Kangaroos’ move to the Essendon District Football League in the off season sets up the first ever men’s derby between two Sunbury clubs in the competition.
On Saturday night at Boardman Reserve they will play for The Local Cup, sponsored by The Local Sunbury.
It’s hoped the night fixture will help attract a bigger crowd.
Both teams are expected to be among the contenders this season with the Kangaroos rated as the premiership favourites by the division 2 coaches and the Thunder equal second favourites.
Kangaroos’ coach Anthony Leydin said they were excited about the challenge of facing East Sunbury so early in the season.
“It’s something new for everyone,” he said. “It’s new for the clubs and the league itself.
“Hopefully there will be a bit of interest in the match being a night match.
“We want to win the match and we won’t knock back any silverware, especially when we haven’t won anything for a while.”
Leydin said they weren’t getting caught up in the hype surrounding the team.
He said signs on the track were good and that there had been a better attitude from the playing group than last season.
Thunder coach Glenn Hopkins said having another club from the same town was good for the club and the competition.
“It is good to have that rivalry and hopefully it will get more people watching,” he said.
“Our crowds are OK, but being a night game you might get players from other teams and competitions come down and watch.
“There should be a strong crowd and hopefully a good match on the field.”
Hopkins said opportunity to get any silverware was welcomed and that bragging rights for the best Sunbury team in the competition would be on the line.
While the Kangaroos are the new boys on the block, Hopkins knows them better than most in the EDFL, having coached against them in the RDFL.
“I know a lot of the players,” he said.
“Knowing the players and knowing their strengths will help me with match-ups.
“But with a different coach to when I last coached against them, there is a big difference.”
Hopkins said he was happy with how his playing squad was looking, with most of last year’s grand final side returning to the Thunder.
Meanwhile in opening round action, the two sides had mixed results.
The Kangaroos defeated the Northern Saints 17.7 (109)-12.10 (82). Mitch Streiff kicked six goals in a best on ground performance for the Kangaroos.
The Thunder lost to Coburg Districts 14.10 (94)-10.13 (73). Thomas Godsell was named the Thunder’s best.
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