The question on everyone’s lips in Benalla on Saturday was: where are the goals going to come from?
Following the departure of the club’s top goal kicker last year, Jarrod Bannister, to Therry Penola OB in the off season, the Saints were left with a problem in the forward line.
With the target man on the pitch, the Saints won six of Bannister’s first seven matches for the club last year.
But his season was cut short because of a broken wrist, which sidelined him for two months.
In spite of that, Bannister booted 54 goals in 12 matches, which included nine against Echuca — meaning he averaged 4.5 majors a game.
Without a specialised goal kicker in the team, the Saints could have been in deep trouble for their season opener in the Goulburn Valley Football League, played on Saturday.
But it was a problem that playing coach Luke Morgan can deal with, he said.
‘‘He’ll be a big loss, he was averaging more than four goals a game, but we need to create other avenues to goal and we looked to change our style of play in the off season, so we’re not as reliant on a full forward,’’ Morgan said.
The Saints started their season with a win at home against the side that knocked them out of the finals in week one last year — Seymour.
The Saints picked up an invaluable 51-point victory over their southern rivals to kick off the season in the perfect way.
Morgan bagged a handful of majors, while veteran Nick Warnock snagged four on the day, sealing the win for the Saints.
Morgan said the club would continue its proud tradition of blooding young exciting prospects in the early rounds.
‘‘We’ve got a lot of youth in our side, so again we’ll be a younger side and those guys that were new last year now have a year’s footy under their belt,’’ he said.
‘‘Getting games into them is a key focus for us this year.
‘‘We’ve been strong in the pre-season with good numbers across all three teams.’’
And with a strong start, the Saints coach said, form was the major key to success this year.
‘‘We’re looking strong as a club, we’re in a good spot, we just need to acquit ourselves well on the field now,’’ he said.