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After a long pre-season that started way back in November, the Mustangs are now into the
practice match phase, having played 2016 Yarra Valley Mountain District premiers,
Healesville, and EFL Division 1 team North Ringwood in the past two weeks with the final hit
out against Rye this Saturday.
The Healesville game was played in very hot conditions which had the waterboys working overtime. We have a number of new faces on our list this season and coaches and supporters alike were anxious to see how they would perform.
The reserves had a comfortable win, 10.17.77 to 5.2.32 with best players being Cam Westwood, Kal Harper, Daniel McGee and Max Ward.
With the temperature continuing to rise it was the seniors' turn to strut their stuff and, after a slow start, we came home with a six-goal final quarter to register a 12.5.77 to 8.11.59 victory. James McManus has returned to the club after a few seasons playing elsewhere and showed he will be a real asset in the centre of the ground. Another recruit, Ben Dolan, who comes from Division 1 club Blackburn also looks the goods. Others in the best were Sean McManus and Sean Atkinson.
Last week we hosted North Ringwood at the Heights Reserve and although the temperature wasn’t as high as the previous week it was still very warm. The reserves played six “quarters” against a combined Under 19s/reserves North Ringwood side so we were able to give 29 players a run. It was a good hitout with a couple of experienced boys in Fordy and Bonfa getting amongst it up forward with four goals each while Peschke also snagged three. We ran out winners by 41 points. Three of last years Under 19s in Blake Daniell, Max Dolan and Kal Harper showed enough to suggest that they may press for senior selection in the near future. Others to feature in the best were Westwood, Aussie Sutherland and that old fella Scott Dimma who booted three goals.
Speaking of “old fellas”, it was great to see “Kid” Talevski back in the green and gold and he showed that he’ll once again be a strong target at full forward with three majors in the senior game. Another recruit, Metin Musa from Bayswater, is an “in and under” type and Jhi Aitkin, who comes to us from Blackburn after playing his junior footy with the Mustangs, will also be vying for the roving position. Aaron Beddoes is another recruit who shows plenty and Matt Hassan returns after missing most of last season through injury. Add to this the fact that 2015 Under 19s premiership players Jon Egan, Michael Eshetu-Mulugeta, Max Ward, Jordy Roth and the returning Ben Higgins are all a year stronger and wiser, we should go into the season looking to consolidate on last season and again play finals footy. The final score was Mooroolbark 10.5.65 to Nth Ringwood 7.6.48.
See you all at Rye on Saturday.