Magpies' spirits remain upbeat

CASTLEMAINE coach Shane Robertson says a season-opening 120-point hiding to Gisborne hasn’t dampened the spirits of the Magpies in the Bendigo Football League. 

The Magpies were on the end of the BFL’s most lop-sided result last Saturday when the impressive Bulldogs won 28.15 (183) to 9.8 (63) at Gardiner Reserve.

“I addressed this with the players on Monday night that it wasn’t a matter of us playing poorly... you have to give credit where it’s due and Gisborne was just awesome,” Robertson said on Wednesday.

“The scoreline was probably more one-sided than what the game actually was.

“We were still hard in the contest and won enough of our own ball and had 18 scoring shots, but Gisborne was just very good.

“We had five players who played last week, including Saad Saad, who had probably trained once with us, so it’s going to take time, but more so, the effort was there and that was the pleasing point.

“We’ve got a lot of improvement to do, so hopefully, we’ll start to see that this week.”

The Magpies will play their first home game of the season this Saturday against Kangaroo Flat.

The Roos were 48-point winners over Maryborough last week and will be eyeing their first 2-0 start to a season since 2001 when their first two opponents were also Maryborough and Castlemaine.

“We highly respect all our opposition, but we’re probably in the situation where we just need to look after our own backyard,” Robertson said.

“We’ve got a lot of new players, so we need to get all our structures in place to make sure we get some positives out of our footy very soon.

“In saying that, I’ve done my homework on Kangaroo Flat. They have lost some players, but they’ve gained a lot of new ones, so we know they are going to be super-competitive and we’ll have to be right on our guard.”

The Magpies were one of the talking points leading into last weekend’s opening round when they included mercurial Seymour forward Saad Saad for a one-off game.

Saad - who was coached by Robertson last year - kicked two goals.

Robertson has indicated the possibility of the Magpies using more players in one-off games this year.

“It’s a matter of sussing out the situation... there are some guys who haven’t had big pre-seasons who may be short of a gallop or their leagues may be starting late,” Robertson said.

“If we get the opportunity to get high-quality footballers where we can, we will certainly go ahead and do that.”

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