HIS team didn't win, but Bendigo Gold coach Aussie Jones was full of praise for his side's round one effort against Geelong at the Queen Elizabeth Oval on Friday night.
The Gold were beaten by 47 points by the Cats, but considering the last time they met seven months ago the margin was 201 points in favour of Geelong, there's plenty for Bendigo to be buoyed about moving forward this season.
The Gold shocked the Cats early when they led by 12 points at quarter-time, 5.3 to 3.3.
But the Cats dominated the scoreboard after quarter-time, kicking 15 goals to six to win 18.13 (121) to 11.8 (74).
"The wash-up after the game was fairly positive," Jones said on Saturday.
"There was probably a fair bit of disappointment that we got ourselves into a good position, but weren't able to finish off... you could see the AFL-listed players of Geelong step up late in the game.
"We had 11 blokes after the game who said they had cramped up, which, unfortunately, is the reality of where we're at and we need to continue to work on the players preparation during the week.
"But overall, there were a lot of positives and I'm really proud of the way the boys went about it."
As for the flying start the Gold made to get the jump on the Cats, Jones described it as 30 minutes of footy where his side "was on" and played with plenty of aggression.
"We've got a lot of hard-nuts who will put their head over the ball and play with aggression and we did that well in the first quarter," Jones said.
"We smashed them in contested ball and out-tackled them in the first quarter.
"We were winning the ball well and when they had it, we put them under a fair bit of pressure and probably should have been a bit more up at quarter-time, but some basic errors hurt us."
The Cats gaining control of the contest in the second quarter coincided with Gold full-back Jack Sheahan, who was assigned the job on Josh Walker, leaving the ground with a cut head.
Sheahan later returned to the field and ended the night as the Gold's best player.