Westmeadows’ strong start to the Essendon District Football League division 1 season has continued with a good win against Taylors Lakes.

Having had what looked like a tough early draw, the Tigers would’ve been happy to be 2-2 after four rounds.

But the Tigers are exceeding early expectations and are 4-1 after the win against Taylors Lakes.

Tigers coach Grant Smith said they were on schedule for their season targets.

The Tigers could easily be 5-0, with one poor quarter costing them against Tullamarine.

“We’re still on track to finish between third and sixth and we’re sitting third at the moment,” he said.

“When looking at the draw, we had Tullamarine and Craigieburn, the two favourites, and West Coburg, who has come down from premier division, in the first four matches. We set ourselves to be 2-2.”

Smith said the early season success had come from a big pre-season, while the new players coming into the side had gelled with the existing group.

He said the focus was ensuring that the side was consistent for four full quarters.

“We brought in a specialist group during the pre-season, which focused on high performance,” he said. “We had a pre-season camp.

“One of the things we assessed last year, was that we were in games for two and a half quarters, but weren’t able to sustain the concentration.

“We needed to be able to steady the ship and ride it out to get over the top of them.

“Every team, regardless of where they are … will at least play some good football for 15 minutes or a quarter.

“You have to deal with that and try and come back strong.”

He also had big raps for the role new captain Robbie Castello has played in his first season at the club.

“Robbie has been a massive influence on the group,” Smith said.

“He’s more a leader on the ground and things are getting implemented with him out there.”

Smith missed the weekend’s match against Taylors Lakes, but was happy with what he heard back from the other coaches.

He said the Lions came at them hard in the first half, before his side ran away with the game, winning 17.8 (110)-8.11 (59).

Omar Saad kicked six goals for the Tigers, while Castello and Thomas Muscat kicked three goals each.

Another pleasing thing for the Tigers was that some of their young stars were the stand-outs.

Jordan Hollow was named best on ground, having been second best the week before.

Aaron Evans, Ethan Wild and Muscat were also among the best.

“They are kids out of the under-19s,” Smith said. “Our approach was we knew we had a talented group and we needed A-grade talent and coaches around them. That’s starting to happen.”

The task doesn’t get any easier for Westmeadows, who now face an undefeated East Keilor side.

Smith, who will be back in charge, said they were looking forward to facing East Keilor.

“They are the benchmark so far,” he said. “We just go in next week having done our research on them, They’ve got talent all through.”

In other matches, Craigieburn beat Roxburgh Park 22.22 (154)-6.5 (41).

Brent Gordon and Shannon Smith kicked five goals each for the Eagles.

Greenvale had a win in premier division, while jacana forfeited against the Northern Saints in division 2.


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