It’s been tough times for the Lake Macquarie Dockers in 2018, but coach Tom Croft remains hopeful they can open their Black Diamond AFL account sooner rather than later.
The winless Dockers host the seventh-placed Singleton Roosters at Tulkaba Park on Saturday having conceded 1076 points from seven outings since being promoted to the top-tier competition.
Croft knows it has been a big step up for his squad and feels a victory would be welcome relief for the players.
“This weekend we have a few out, but we’re still looking pretty strong,” Croft said.
“Obviously we’re still after our first win, but it was a big leap just coming up to Black Diamond.
“We’ll keep working as hard as we can and hopefully we can get one this weekend. It would be nice to get one in the W column.”
Croft believes it will take a few campaigns to reach the “consistency” required at premiership level.
The Dockers have been beaten by 100-plus point in their last six starts, but were within striking distance against Maitland first up.
“Our first game we were right in it, but since then we’ve been beaten by 100 or 150 plus,” he said.
“In patches we have come together, but I suppose it’s that consistency we lack. We know it will be a two or three year period to improve and get to that level.”
Croft said Rory Slade and Damon Tually had been “impressive” performers for Lake Macquarie this season.
“Rory Slade hasn’t turned 18 yet, but he plays in the backline and has been absolutely fantastic,” he said.
“Damon Tually, he’s a class above as well.”
Elsewhere in round-nine encounters on Saturday and second-placed Newcastle City host fourth-placed Warners Bay at No.1 Sportsground, Nelson Bay face an almost must-win clash away to Wyong Lakes at Don Small Oval, Maitland travel to meet premiers Terrigal Avoca at Hylton Moore Oval and Gosford are at home to undefeated Cardiff at Rogers Park. Killarney Vale have the bye.
Meanwhile, the AFL NSW-ACT appeals panel have reserved their decision until next week regarding Cardiff’s appeal of the Black Diamond AFL’s newly-implemented player points system.
LADDER: Cardiff (100%); Newcastle City, Terrigal Avoca (85.71); Warners Bay, Gosford (57.14); Wyong Lakes, Singleton (42.86); Killarney Vale (37.5); Nelson Bay (25); Maitland (14.29); Lake Macquarie (0).