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Many thanks to Geoff "Joffa" Newstead, who in his words displayed his ability to balance a pen, clipboard and a beer as well as take in all of the action from Friday night's practice match against Montrose!
The Mustangs had their first hitout for 2015 on Friday night against the strong Montrose side. The game was played over six “quarters” with the first two quarters made up mainly of our U19s boys playing Montrose's reserves side. We started slowly against the bigger-bodied opposition but there were some good signs from some of the boys.
Max Ward continued his best-and-fairest-winning form of last season with plenty of possessions and Josh Noonan showed that he’s over his arm injury which kept him out for most of 2014.
After a scoreless first term we finally broke through when Josh McConnell snagged a goal and followed it up with another soon after. Reserves coach, Scott Dimitriou, came on to add a bit of experience and immediately had an influence with a goal assist and then one off his own boot. The score after the first two quarters was Mooroolbark 4.2.26 to Montrose 4.6.30.
The next term saw a mix of reserves and senior players take the field. Big name recruits, Mitch Bonuda and Dash Barolli - fresh from a huge journey to Healesville - took part and both showed that they will be great assets to the side, Mitch with his strength and on-field leadership and Dash with his ball-getting ability and crisp disposals. Trent Piribauer, who made his comeback to footy after a four-year layoff, showed that will have what it takes once he gains more experience and Michael Eshetu-Mulugeta exudes class and should spend most of the season in the seniors even though he is still eligible for U19s.
Adam Miles continued his improvement from last season with two strong goals and even old Moosey took a bit of a hanger. Other youngsters in Hassan and Egan also showed that they can handle it at senior level. Lockie Sutherland and Jezza showed they will benefit from a solid pre-season, as will Jai. Last seasons late recruit, Tessa, is also back and showed plenty while Bisho also made his presence felt.
The score for the final four quarters, where Montrose fielded its entire senior side, was Mooroolbark 4.3.29 to Montrose 11.14.80. All in all, it was an encouraging performance and when you consider we have players like Smith, Linford, Hammen, Charge and recruit Sean Atkinson to come into the side, there are plenty of good reasons for Mustang supporters to look forward to the season.