Goulburn Bulldogs coach Adam Kyle rated his side's 34-14 victory over the Queanbeyan Kangaroos last Sunday a five out of 10 - which is an indication of just how good he knows the team could be this year.
The Roos finished third on the ladder in 2018, only behind the Tuggeranong Bushrangers and the Woden Rams, both of whom would go on to feature in the grand final.
The Bulldogs, meanwhile, finished in seventh, after a season full of promise went largely unfulfilled.
In 2019, Kyle was determined to make amends, and went about recruiting energetically. The likes of Mitchell and Tyler Cornish, Liam Oakley, Aritaku Robens, Dennis Phillips, and Dillon Rota joined the club added significant experience and skill to what was initially a young and raw list.
The new recruits have slotted well into the Bulldogs' first grade ranks, and last weekend's match against Queanbeyan was an emphatic demonstration of the new-look team's capabilities.
"I'd probably give us a five for today," Kyle said following the Bulldogs' victory.
"I thought we could've been a lot better in our attack, and for me, that score should've been probably another three or four tries on top of that.
"I thought that the three tries that they scored for us defensively, for what we're trying to achieve, were below par."
While the side was understandably rough in the first round of the season, Kyle added that a comfortable victory over a side the calibre of the Roos was "something that we're very proud of."
"To come away with a good win like that today is really impressive for us as a club."
While Sunday's was a slow start for the Bulldogs, Kyle is confident that the more football the team plays, the smoother they will get.
"We haven't played a game of footy in three weeks, [and] this was also our first 80 minute performance over the whole pre-season," he said.
"So for us it is probably gonna take a few weeks to get into that grind of football and learn when we need to play and when we need to hold back a bit."
The first grade match on Sunday was preceded by the Under 19s and reserve grade fixtures.
The Bulldogs' Under 19s side played against the North Canberra Bears, and resulted in a resounding 58-0 win for the home team.
The reserve grade match between the Bulldogs and the Roos was somewhat closer, but still resulted in a win for Goulburn, to complete a trio of victories in round one.
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