South Mildura took some steps forward last week against reigning premiers Irymple, which captain Anthony Gauci wants to see continued against Imperials on Saturday.
The Bulldogs pushed the Swallows all the way, in the end going down by 18 points.
“It was a good effort, obviously it was disappointing losing in the end because we were sort of in it all day,” Gauci said.
“A few of the things we talked about during the week leading up to the game I think we actually sort of executed quite well, which was a positive sign, especially given how young we are.”
The Bulldogs captain hailed young recruit Laine Fitzgerald, a former Balranald and Bendigo Pioneers footballer, for his work at Sarah Oval.
“He’s settled in really well, he’s one of the hardest blokes at the footy,” Gauci said.
“We gave him a role last week on Irymple's better players and he executed it very well and was just about our best. He had a couple of the better midfielders who were rolling through, he was always accountable for whoever it was at the time. “He got his fair share of the footy as well.”
Stepping up to a leadership role this season, Gauci said it was good to see the younger players hit their stride.
“You sort of put your own footy on the backburner a bit and get more enjoyment out of seeing the young blokes come through and develop,” he said.
“Especially a few of us old South boys, not that we are coming towards the end of our careers, you get more excited seeing that next generation of players coming through.”
Across the fence at City Oval, Imperials co-coach Brad Hards called on his side to maintain the course after their undefeated start to the season.
“We’ve obviously been good in all our games this year, but you are only one bad game away from everyone getting on your back and saying you should have done this, you should have done that, so it’s about keeping that consistency,” he said.
“Keeping the way we want to play, not going out there ... and going kick chasing and that sort of stuff, we’ve got to stick to the structures.”
Hards revealed he had not trained at all this week outside of some jogging and was facing a fitness test after a slight groin strain in the fourth quarter of the club’s win over Robinvale-Euston.
“If I’m not 100 per cent confident with it I won’t be playing,” Hards said.
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