COACH Aussie Jones can think of no better way to start the season than to go up against the side that seven months ago dished out the biggest hiding in Bendigo's VFL history.
The Bendigo Gold play their first game of the 2014 VFL season on Friday night when they host Geelong at the Queen Elizabeth Oval.
Friday night's game comes 224 days after the Cats inflicted a 201-point flogging on the Gold - also under lights at the QEO - in the final round last season.
But rather than be daunted by what happened in that last meeting, Jones and his young Gold players are embracing the challenge of the return encounter with the Cats.
"Even though there were reasons for our heavy defeat against them - the main one being we were spent after a long year - this is an opportunity for us straight away to show the improvement we've made over the summer," Jones said on Thursday.
“As well as on-field, it’s a big night for the club being on show on a Friday night at the QEO.”
The Gold side will feature 11 players lining up in their first game for the club on Friday night.
“A lot of those 11 guys have played state league footy, and there’s also local kids in there who are really looking forward to getting the opportunity,” Jones said.
“Those new players certainly won’t be scarred by what happened in that last game against Geelong last year, and even the guys who were here aren’t scarred by it.
“We understood where we were at as a club and I’m confident people will see a different Bendigo on Friday.”
Jones’ expectations for Friday night centre around one word - compete.
“We need to compete... that’s the bottom line,” Jones said.
“I talk a lot about a positive attitude within our club and we need to be that way for the whole four quarters.
“It’s easy to start positive, but if Geelong gets a run-on or controls the tempo of the game, we’ll see the character of the blokes who can keep that positive attitude throughout.
“We want the people at the game walking away knowing we had a crack all night.”
Friday’s game at the QEO starts at 7pm.