Thurgoona aim prevent back-to-back losses during clash with Barnawartha

STRONG GRAB: Thurgoona's Aydan Brown gets both of his hands to the ball during the Bulldogs' season opener. Brown was named the side's best player last round.

STRONG GRAB: Thurgoona's Aydan Brown gets both of his hands to the ball during the Bulldogs' season opener. Brown was named the side's best player last round.

Many wouldn’t have predicted Thurgoona to already have a loss to its name so early in the season.

The Bulldogs have had a fortnight to think about the upset result against Rutherglen and will be out to ensure it doesn’t occur again at home against Barnawartha on Saturday.

Thurgoona coach Jamarl O’Sullivan knows there is still plenty of room for improvement for his side.

“There’s definitely some things we need to work on, but I think it’s (the loss) come at the right time of the year,” O’Sullivan said.

“Credit to them, they played well on the day.

We’ll be still treating them with plenty of respect, because at the moment they’re in the same position we are.

Jamarl O'Sullivan

“The week off has freshened everyone up after a big-preseason.

“Everyone’s working very hard, but especially for us older blokes, it doesn’t hurt to have a week off.”

However, the Bulldogs will be without Dan Cleary for the rest of the season after he suffered a broken leg during the loss to the Cats.

O’Sullivan was devastated for Cleary given he had started the season in impressive fashion and forced his way into the senior side.

“He’s worked really hard in the pre-season and dropped about eight kilos,” O’Sullivan said.

“He’ll be a forced change, but there’s a couple of boys playing well in the twos.”

Barnawartha also produced somewhat of a shock result when it came from behind to draw with last year’s runners-up Mitta United in round two at Eskdale.

O’Sullivan isn’t expecting an easy contest.

“It looks like they’ve still got some classy players,” he said.

“We’ll be still treating them with plenty of respect, because at the moment they’re in the same position we are.

“We’ve got some new faces, so it will take us a few weeks to get used to each other and for everyone to work out what their roles are.”

Also this weekend, Kiewa-Sandy Creek and Rutherglen meet in arguably the match of the round at Kiewa, with both sides yet to lose thus far.

Lee and Jay Dale will face Beechworth for the first time as coaches of Yackandandah, in what should be a physical contest.

Chiltern and Mitta United will both be chasing their first wins when they meet at Chiltern.

The same goes for Wodonga Saints and Tallangatta as they get set to clash at John Flower Oval.

Off the back of two 100-point victories, Wahgunyah will be expected to inflict more pain on the winless Dederang-Mount Beauty.