Sharks’ new look side

Jackson Volpato. (Shawn Smits)

Tara Murray

Hillside has looked to reinvent itself this season under new coach Charlie Denaro in Essendon District Football League division 1.

The Sharks had a number of players move on during the off season, leaving the Sharks fielding a very different line up in round one against Taylors Lakes.

After a scratchy start, the Sharks were able to go on and win the traditional Good Friday clash, 16.14 (110) –11.8 (74).

Denaro said he was more than happy with the side’s first up performance.

“The first half was really scratchy from both sides, as they struggled in the heat,” he said.

“We settled really well and couldn’t get the reflection on the scoreboard.

“We were better in the second half. It took them a while, but I’m more than happy with how they improved even in the first game.”

More than half the team pulled on the jumper for the Sharks in a senior game for the first time.

Denaro said they knew it would take some time to get those connections going.

“We are a whole new team from the team that we were in round 18, 2019,” he said.

“We lost the players we lost, which was always going to hurt.

“We’re looking to play different football. We had to reinvent ourselves as a club and I’m a really different coach.”

Denaro was thrilled with the output of some of their new recruits.

Hisham Kerbatieh kicked five goals and was a standout up forward. Denaro said while he hadn’t trained at the club since Christmas due to VFL training, he had been a really good influence on the playing group.

Josh Trembearth and Zak Wunhym were the other standout players while Riley Mclaughlin and Lachie Henson both had good first up performances.

Denaro, who was previously assistant coach at the Sharks, also had his first win as the senior coach.

Denaro had to wait nearly 16 months to finally coach an official game, with last season being cancelled.

“I was so relieved,” he said. “To have footy back with the sun out and a good crowd.

“We had an injury in the reserves which delayed the game, so there was at one stage thinking it might not happen.

“We had to wait a fair while and we finally got there.”

Denaro said sneaking into third or fourth place on the ladder at the end of the season was their aim.

“I think we would be lying if we said we didn’t want to play finals,” he said.

The Sharks had a bye on the weekend, with the remaining round one matches being played.

Denaro and the Sharks hierarchy have planned to spend the weekend at the football, watching their round two opponents and premiership favourites East Keilor in action.

“We have the benefit of going and having a look at East Keilor and Westmeadows,” he said.

“It’s a huge hit out and we all know about the hype of East Keilor, so it will be good to see how they go.”