STAWELL - Stawell Westlift Warriors lined up for their first competitive hit out for the season last Saturday and coach Tim Seymour was impressed with the results.
Following a topsy turvy pre-season that saw many changes to the team, Stawell managed to defeat St Arnaud on their home turf.
Seymour was particularly taken with how the side ran out the game, describing it as 'a bit of a shock.'
"I thought we'd have a lapse in that last quarter but it came in the second. We ran it out really well," he said.
"The boys did a lot of good things. The season is starting to pan out okay so far.
"Skills did let us down a little bit, but that's something we're working on - just little things that change the game in a matter of seconds such as handballs and kicks that miss targets half a metre to a metre.
"They're just things we'll have to iron out."
Four of Stawell's senior players were missing including Cam Kimber and Todd Matthews, while the Warriors new recruits - Jackson Giles, Toby Reid, Jesse Hannett and Nick Considine - all played and showed encouraging signs.
"The new recruits fit in really well and did their jobs. That's all I can ask," Seymour said.
"They're going to be handy assets to the side.
"It was a real team effort from what I saw. There was respect from each and every one who took to the field."
The coach singled out the effort of youngster Tom Eckel, who is on the brink of a break out season.
"Tommy Eckel really stood up and took on a leadership role for the match," Seymour said.
"Toby Reid through the midfield also stood out which was good to see.
"Young Sam Williams played really well off the half forward flank. He held his own against the bigger bodies."
The only injury concern to emerge from the match was a rolled ankle to Jesse Hannett.
Other stand outs included Shane Field, who did his job in the ruck and backline while defender Scott Rathgeber also showed plenty.
Those who have benefited from a big pre-season include Field, Eckel and Reid.
"Toby has got a lot out of the pre-season," Seymour said.
"He was a bit overweight when he arrived but has lost a fair bit of weight - he really took it onboard."
Seymour lined up in the centre half back position and rotated himself through the centre, saying 'it wasn't too bad for a first hit out.'
"It'll take time to get the old body back into shape," he said.
The coach has yet to determine who will captain Stawell this season.
He has a few players in mind and has previously flagged the idea of co-captains, saying he would like to give it to two young guys to give them leadership experience.
Seymour is also working closely with his reserves counterpart, Andrew Dunn and will continue to do so throughout the season.
"We'll work out the teams depending on who I take. Injuries and stuff like that will come up," he said
Stawell's next practice match is under lights on Friday, April 5 against Maryborough Castlemaine District League club Natte Bealiba.