Hurstbridge made history at the weekend when it claimed its first ever Meadows Greyhounds Division 1 victory against reigning premier Heidelberg.
It’s the first time a Division 2 premier has beaten a Division 1 premier in the Northern Football League, with coach Trevor Little insisting there are many more scalps to be taken in his club’s first campaign in the top flight since 2004.
“I hope to create a lot of firsts,” Little told NFL.org.au.
“I think it’s only early but I’m really excited and I think milestones are wonderful for our club.”
After three consecutive tight losses against Macleod, West Preston-Lakeside and Bundoora to start off its season, Little denied that his side was fazed by a tough fixture in the opening month.
“When you initially look at the fixture and you see those four teams, there’s a couple of ways you can look at it. It’s either ‘geez we’ve been dealt a difficult draw’ or ‘you know what? This will give us something to strive for’,” he said.
“In the Macleod game we looked for belief.
“We know Division 1 is a different ball game, but that first quarter against Macleod was somewhat a bit of a shell-shock but they were absolutely amazing and I couldn’t have asked for much more.
“I think that was the catalyst, an important Round 1 had sent us into West Preston-Lakeside where our guys really believed they could win.
“In the Bundoora game we felt like it was déjà vu. We were getting beaten by four or five goals every time after being in the game.”
Little believed there wasn’t much to change about the way his side was playing after three honourable losses, but rather he was confident that persisting with what was working would soon get them a win.
“We thought we deserved an outcome based on the first three weeks and we were doing anything to get the win,” he said.
“We just have to keep working on the positives.
“I’ll be really honest, I know Heidelberg had a few key players out and I know we have as well but we really did treat this like a grand final. We have 18 grand finals so we’ve got to be up every week.
“Our guys kicked into gear (after quarter time) and the best part about some of our kids is they keep taking the game on.
“History tells you – which we were told quite a few times – that the team coming up generally tends to struggle and we talked during the week about what it would be like, a Division 2 premier beating a Division 1 premier and I’ll admit, we actually ran through that and what it would take to win.”
Little also gave praise to his coaching committee and the many players who have stepped up to the challenge of competing in Meadows Greyhounds Division 1, as well as the few new additions.
“The Barberos from Bundoora have added some Division 1 experience and some bigger bodies. They’ve definitely been great for the group,” he said.
“I think personally Brayden Shaw is the best leader in the Northern Football League. Taking nothing away from anyone else, I rate him really highly.
“It’s also not every day you get a captain of an AFL club in Jack Grimes come into the mix either. He’s a wonderful person and is teaching the group a hell of a lot which makes my job a lot easier.
“I’m confident with the group we’ve got that we’ll remain competitive.
“It’s a real testament to my assistant coaches and our committee to provide a positive environment.”
Hurstbridge faces another tough assessment when it takes on second-placed Northcote Park at Bill Lawry Oval in Round 5 following the representative bye.