By Lance Jenkinson
North Footscray player-coach Jonathan Miller is convinced the teams that cope best with the new 6-6-6 rule will have an edge over the rest of the competition in the Western Region Football League division 2.
It took only 120 crazy minutes of football to convince Miller, who was taken aback by the impact the rule had on the season opening game, which included an extraordinary 46 goals kicked between the Devils and Manor Lakes at Hansen Reserve on Saturday.
The Devils emerged victorious by 28 points, kicking 25 goals to 21.
“It was incredible,” Miller said. “I didn’t think it would have that big an impact.
“That score, I haven’t seen it for a while.
“The sides that can get that right are probably going to have the advantage.”
While North Footscray had 40 scoring shots, it is still figuring out how best to use the set-up that forces sides to have six players inside each 50 metre arc, four players in the centre square and two on the wing when the ball is bounced.
The Devils were late to the party when it came to fully implementing the new rule because their home ground was unavailable for use until late in the pre-season.
Miller believes first use of the ball will be crucial under the new rules and winning the one-on-one contests inside the 50 metre arcs in the first instance will be vital.
“Being so isolated, if you don’t get your personnel right, you can be found out,” he said.
“You need to be potent in all the one-on-one contests and you need six forwards who can be dangerous.
“The boys have taken on everything I’ve directed them to do [regarding the new set-up] and the result we got today came through the boys application and willingness to play to direction.”
Sam Martin and Kieran Murphy were two of the driving forces out of the middle for North Footscray. Murphy capped a stellar game with two goals.
“He was back to his best,” Miller said. “He sort of defies age, a bit like a [former North Melbourne champion Brent] ‘Boomer’ Harvey.”
Asher Kirk impressed on debut for North Footscray at centre half-back.
Joel Richardson was the most potent Devil with six goals on a day when his side had 11 individual goalkickers.
The Vorano brothers – Brody, Caiden and Jack – along with Adam Petridis were youngsters to impress.
“They’re four young kids who we’re hoping will take the next step and reach their potential,” Miller said.
North Footscray will make the short trip to Parkside in the second round.
Parkside will enter the game on a high after beating Newport by 61 points.
Yarraville Seddon is licking its wounds after a first-up 13-point loss to Wyndhamvale, while West Footscray went down by 39 points to newly promoted Point Cook Centrals.
In division 1, Altona exacted revenge on Hoppers Crossing after last year’s preliminary final loss in a 23-point season opening win.
Spotswood outlasted Sunshine to win by 37 points, while reigning premiers Deer Park flexed its muscle in a 78-point victory over Caroline Springs.
In division 3, the big story was Laverton, who slaughtered North Sunshine by 204 points.
New recruit Luke Styles snared a cool 11 goals for the Magpies.
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