Benalla had a comprehensive 83-point win against Mooroopna away from home at the weekend and coach Luke Morgan put it down to his back six.
‘‘Our team defence was probably the highlight of our performance in the end,’’ Morgan said.
‘‘Our back unit was pretty strong, but team defences is a real focus of ours and it’s something we’ll continue to work on and improve as the season goes on.’’
The Saints jumped out of the blocks, kicking five goals to none in the first quarter and from there Mooroopna never really looked like challenging as the Saints went on to win, 14.13 (97) to 1.8 (14).
The Cats kicked just one goal for the entire Goulburn Valley League game through Billy Wall in the last quarter, but coach Dale Osborne side his charges were ‘‘not too far away’’.
‘‘A lot of people see the scoreboard and say we’re going backwards, but we’re making progress,’’ Osborne said.
‘‘We’re definitely not far away ... we just need to start getting results on the board.’’
Young Bushranger Ajak Dang, 17, returned to play for his home club and was the most influential player on the ground.
‘‘Ajak was fantastic, he’s been playing a different role for the Bushies down back,’’ Osborne said.
‘‘He mopped up down back and was absolutely fantastic all day — he showed the club how much he’s grown this year.’’
Osborne said poor skill execution kept his team out of the game in relation to the scoreboard, but said Benalla was very good.
‘‘Their rebound off half-back was great, their midfield got on top of ours, so hats off to them,’’ he said.
‘‘But it’s pretty disappointing when the midfield and back line does so much work and you don’t polish off in front of goal.
‘‘We had a number of set shots from within 35m that we missed.’’
Morgan was excellent, while Nick Warnock, Lachlan Thompson and Sam Martyn all kicked multiple goals.
‘‘Nick played well, he kicked five and could’ve ended up with a few more,’’ Morgan said.
‘‘He presented well, hit up at the footy and assisted with some excellent delivery.’’
Morgan also handed out praise to Dang who he said was definitely Mooroopna’s best player, but also gave his own youngsters a pat on the back.
‘‘Our young guys are really developing, your Bailey MacDonalds, Wade Kings and Jamie Dunnes and the under-18 guys,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ve got some room for improvement, but I was pretty satisfied as a whole.
‘‘It’s only round five though, so we’ll keep moving forwards and aiming to improve each week.’’
For the Cats, Bayden Fallon, Lachlan Devine and Ben Hicks all performed strongly.