Raiders continue on

Sam Gilmore (Ljubica Vrankovic) 406464_12

Tara Murray

Despite a flying start to life in the Northern Football League, Old Paradians are still not putting any expectations on themselves.

The Raiders have won four of their first five games in the division 3 season and showed that they won’t be easy beats in this competition having crossed from the Victorian Amateur Football Association in the off season.

Coach Ben Turner said they were happy with how things had started.

“So far, so good,” he said. “Coming into the season we didn’t set overly high expectations as we didn’t want to put expectations on ourselves.

“We wanted to see how we go and we’ve performed pretty well so far.”

On Saturday, the Raiders faced an improved Lalor side, searching for its third win of the season.

Turner said they were wary of the Bloods, saying they are a very different side to the last few years.

“We couldn’t take our foot off the pedal,” he said. “We needed to play as well as we could.”

It was the Bloods that led at quarter time, before the Raiders kicked six goals to none in the second quarter to open up a lead.

With the game in their control the Raiders were able to increase the lead in the second half to win, 15.16 (106)-8.9 (57).

Turner said they felt like it took them a little while to take control of the game.

“We were happy to walk away with a win like that,” he said. “We had a bit more polish.

“We were defending quite well and we didn’t concede a lot of inside 50s. We had a lot more down our end and were relentless inside 50 and took our opportunities which the scoreboard showed.”

Lachie Kerr, Marcus Nolan and Jack Witchell kicked three goals each for the Raiders.

Turner said that Kerr showed some exciting moments including nearly taking the mark of the year on more than one occasion.

He said Heath Phillips, who kicked two goals from half back, and Sam Gilmore in the ruck were the other standouts.

For the Bloods, Sam Rexhepi kicked five goals. Nathan Parkes and Hayden Hunt were named their best.

Despite the good start, Turner said they weren’t getting ahead of themselves with what they could achieve.

“We haven’t played everyone yet,” he said. “We’ll take the opportunity to play every team and see what it looks like.

“We’ve put ourselves in a good position and we’ll see where it takes us.”

The Raiders this Saturday face Kinglake.

Turner said they wouldn’t take the winless side easily.

In other matches, Epping had a good win against Kilmore, getting the points 10.12 (72)-9.9 (63).

Mernda also got the points, beating Kinglake, 14.7 (91)-6.6 (42).

In division 2, Laurimar got its first win of the season, while Thomastown and Epping both lost thrillers.

Whittlesea also got a win.