Diamond Creek coach Craig Hayes believes his side still has plenty of room for improvement despite impressing in its opening-round win.
The Creekers got their 2019 A Plus Labour Solutions Division 2 campaign off to an ideal start, with a 14-point triumph against the Fitzroy Stars at Sir Douglas Nicholls Oval.
Diamond Creek endured a disappointing 2018, missing the finals despite playing off in the 2017 premiership decider.
However, the Creekers made a much better start to 2019, recording an important win against a new-look Stars side, which has gone through a major list change over the off-season.
A fast start was the catalyst behind the win, with the Creekers racing to a 15-point lead at quarter time. The margin remained steady at the remaining quarter breaks.
Hayes acknowledged that whilst his club was very happy to walk away with the four points, there are still areas for improvement.
“It was a really good win. The Stars have improved significantly, they’re going to be a handful for whoever they play moving forward,” Hayes said.
“We were lucky to capitalise on our opportunities in the first quarter and they didn’t. They kicked a few points and that was probably the difference at the end of the day.
“They were competitive all game, but the last five minutes of the last quarter to get control back and steady the ship was really positive.
“It was a good first outing, but there’s still room to improve.
“Just some of our ball movement through centre half forward and some of our conversion when we had opportunities, we were a bit fatigued.”
The Creekers win came on the back of a five-goal outing from Nathan Searl, as well as strong performances from recruits Tom Bennett and James Marchbank.
However, the result came at a cost with Bennett suffering a broken arm late in the game.
“Nathan Searl kicked five and Hugh Kavanagh was pretty good across half back, so they pretty important,” Hayes said.
“Tom Bennett, James Marchbank, Nick Barro were all pretty solid, but we probably could’ve put 15 or 16 blokes in our best.
“It was a pretty consistent effort.”
Diamond Creek faces one of the toughest tasks in second division this week, travelling away to recently-demoted Whittlesea.
The Eagles made an immediate impression in their A Plus Labour Solutions Division 2 return, downing Epping by 91 points in Round 1.
Hayes is wary of the challenge but id looking forward to seeing how his side fares against one of the competition’s benchmark teams.
“They’re notoriously hard to beat at home, but we’ll give ourselves every opportunity,” he said.
“They’ll be very strong. They’ve lost a few good players, they’ve picked up some, but they’ve got great depth which will hold them in good stead for the entirety of the year.
“It’ll be those moments when that conversion is there to be made. We’ll need to be sure to do that and get the footy in good areas to make that conversion a little bit easier.”
Hayes confirmed at least one change for the game, with Bennett a confirmed out and ruckman Josh Marchbank expected to return after missing last week’s win.
Hayes expected Bennett to miss at least a couple of weeks, with the club awaiting scans before confirming a time frame for his recovery.