Roos still believe the best is yet to come

TUMBARUMBA coach Matt Howarth has refused to hit the panic button just yet, despite the defending premier’s lacklustre start to the season.

After winning the past two flags, the Roos started the season as an unknown quantity after losing a serious chunk of their premiership core.

They had their 23-match winning streak snapped by Corryong first up and Howarth said not much has gone right since.

After the first round, the Roos sit fourth with a 2-3 record, but are only four points and percentage behind second-placed Corryong which travels to Tumbarumba on Saturday.

“It hasn’t been the start we had hoped for but injuries have slaughtered us,” Howarth said.

“There hasn’t been a week where we have been able to put the same team on the park.

“But in saying that, in a couple of games we haven’t been too far off the mark — we have been our own worst enemies.

“Against Cudgewa, they kicked four goals in the first quarter to our four points and that was the margin.

“And Bullioh kicked the first five goals to our nothing and we got beat by nine points.

“So our slow starts are something we will be looking to rectify this week — that’s for sure.

“We aren’t panicking and knew it would take until round six or seven until we started playing the football we are capable of.”

The early-season form of strong-marking forward Ben Carey has been a big positive for the Roos.

Carey leads the league goalkicking with 19 and has enabled utility Matt Molkentin to spend more time in the ruck and across half-foward.

Last year’s league medallist, Stephen Barnes, will be out until at least after next month’s long weekend bye.

But tough nut Simon Brook has helped cover the absence of the Roos’ best ball winner after returning to the club from Jindera in round 3.

Corryong expects to be without utility James Paton who suffered a heavy knock last week against Cudgewa.

The Blues’ Ben Aalbers will face the tribunal tonight, charged with striking Paton.

In other matches, Cudgewa should extend it unbeaten start to the season against Federal while Bullioh will be too strong for Border-Walwa.