East Keilor issued a firm reminder to anyone doubting its premiership credentials on Saturday.
After four straight wins to start the EDFL Division 1 season, the Cougars slipped to back-to-back defeats to flag rivals Westmeadows and Tullamarine.
But Pat Christofi’s men answered any misgivings over their side’s legitimacy in emphatic fashion against last year’s preliminary finalist Craigieburn, powering to a 31-point triumph at Overland Reserve.
East Keilor cruised to a 56-point advantage at three-quarter-time before conceding six goals in the last term.
The success left it in second spot with a 5-2 record entering the Queen’s Birthday break, Christofi declaring his team’s confidence had not been impacted in recent weeks.
“In the first loss we didn’t show up at all and weren’t there for Westmeadows. We just had a bad day,” he said.
“Against Tullamarine, that was a game we shouldn’t have lost. We had control for three quarters and broke down structurally due to injury and it slipped away from us in the last quarter.
“We lost too many midfielders to injury who couldn’t come back on, so we structurally broke down in the last quarter.
“So, no, confidence didn’t take any hit at all.
“We believe in what we’re doing. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
“But it was very important (to beat Craigieburn) because we hadn’t beaten anyone of any value really.”
Former coach Ash Arrowsmith starred for the winning side, while Jordan Madden and Lachlan Pettigrove were also influential.
Dion Hill and Copper Perry contributed three goals apiece.
The Cougars killed the contest with an eight-goal-to-one second quarter and Christofi said their relentless pressure proved telling.
“It was three or three and a half quarters of intense pressure,” he said.
“I think they weren’t expecting us to be so hard at it and it paid off in the end.
“But Craigieburn is a very good side.”
Christofi said he was “extremely happy” with East Keilor’s position ahead of its next fixture against West Coburg on June 15.
“But our best side hasn’t come yet,” he said.
“We’ve still got a few new blokes coming in and a couple of other blokes joining the club over the next week or so. We’ll present differently in the next few weeks.
“We don’t plan on peaking … until later in the year. Until then, we just want to play consistent football.
“Of course we’re going to have flaws, we’re a new team and 55 per cent of the team is new. They haven’t played together.”
Coutesty: HeraldSun 02/06/2019