PICOLA United took Mathoura to the cleaners on Saturday as the back-to-back premiers once again begin their title defence.
United comprehensively dispatched a young Mathoura side away from home by 138-points in the Picola and District Football League.
Picola United head coach John Varcoe said he was more impressed with his side’s defensive efforts than the forward line.
‘‘We try and get a balance between offence and defence, and to be able to hold a team to one goal is a strong performance defensively,’’ Varcoe said.
‘‘We probably lagged a few times and could’ve been better up front. Probably just having defence and offence structured and organised and down pat is our next goal.’’
Mathoura’s co-coach Jack Keogh said he was proud of the side in the way it shifted to finish the game.
‘‘We’re just a young side that has been coming together since Christmas, while they have been together for about three or four years and have won two premierships in that time,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s definitely a tough assignment first up (playing United), but we’ll bounce back and we hope to build on it rather than be too disheartened,’’ he said.
Varcoe said it could be difficult to predict the quality of teams and the improvements made in the off season before the league starts, which was why he was impressed with his troops following the final siren.
‘‘It certainly was a solid first up performance, especially as you never know what to expect coming into round one, and we came up against a young and enthusiastic team in Mathoura,’’ he said.
‘‘But our boys rose to the occasion and played a good brand of footy. We were strong at the contest and our clearances. Now it’s just a matter of getting everyone committed in the first team,’’ he said.
Keogh said his side had the potential to do great things this season and were a long-term project. ‘‘After half time I think (Picola) thought we’d lie down and even though we were down the effort was still there,’’ he said.
‘‘There’s absolutely a lot of potential, the oldest guy in the team is 28, but most are 24 and under.
‘‘We’re not looking short-term, this is definitely us looking to keep the team together long-term,’’ Keogh said.
Varcoe’s Picola now has the bye before facing Strathmerton on April 21.
‘‘We have two weeks to train up strongly and then we play against Strathmerton who we expect to have improved significantly. We hope to get the points there too,’’ he said.
In the meantime, Keogh’s Mathoura will line up against Strathmerton this weekend.
‘‘We have Strathmerton over there. It’ll be good to have these teams first up as it shows us where we’re at and shows us where we want to be,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ll have a tough night on Tuesday and work on a few things we thought we struggled with and hopefully the efforts are there and we can give them a good run for their money on the day.
‘‘We’ll have two or three guys come back for that one as well, so that’ll help.’’