Deer Park is sitting better than it expected at the halfway point of the Western Region Football League division 1 season.
The Lions won six matches in the first round of matches between the sides and sat in fourth spot heading into the second round of matches which kicked off on Saturday.
Lions coach Mark McGoldrick said they would have been happy to sit 6-3 at this stage of the year.
“We’re probably a game ahead of where we thought we would be,” he said.
“Getting the win against Werribee [Districts] at Werribee was a plus for us. We thought we might be 5-4, so we have a game up our sleeve.”
The Lions three losses have come to the three teams above them on the ladder entering round 10. In each the Lions, were beaten easily.
McGoldrick said there was a bit of a gap between the two two teams and the rest of the competition.
“There looks to be two standout clubs at the moment, Caroline Springs and Altona,” he said.
“They beat us both convincingly… they beat us by 60 points. We’re still a rebuilding club.
“There’s then a big gulf. Third to seventh is very even half way through.”
McGoldrick said the focus for the second half of the season continued to be on development.
The long term future of the Lions is the key.
“We said to the guys, things we would put in place, would see improvement in the second half of the season,” he said.
“If that means we win 12 games, even if we win 11 games, it’s a couple more than we would have thought.
“That’s a plus for us as we’re looking to the future.”
The Lions playing stocks will receive a couple of boosts in the coming week.
Multiple premiership winning star Jack Purton-Smith played his first game back before the break and will only get better.
Star Kwame Mcharg and Lachlan Smart should also be back in the next couple of weeks.
“When they’re back and firing, they will make a difference, especially in the midfield,” McGoldrick said. “They’ll give us some bigger body midfielders.”
The Lions were set to get an idea of how far they had improved this season, they faced Caroline Springs on Saturday.
Caroline Springs won 1517 (107)-9.13 (67).
McGoldrick said before the game they were expecting a really good tear.
“To have the junior program they’ve had for the last 12 to 15 years and then smart recruiting by them, they’re sending out a message to the rest of the competition.
“We’re playing them at home. Hopefully we can be more competitive. Last time the scoreboard showed 15 goals to six or seven.
“We need to hit the scoreboard a bit more and strengthen our game defensively.”