Murray United got its pre-season off to a flying start with a 10-0 rout of Wangaratta at South Wangaratta Reserve on Saturday.
The NPL 2 outfit showed its class during the middle stages of the contest, where they piled on nine goals in a 20-minute period.
Murray coach Elliot Jones was pleased with the effort.
“It was really tough conditions for both teams and we’ve obviously been training for a lot longer than Wangaratta has,” he said.
“We were a fair bit fitter than those boys and were able to get on top and cash in with some good work in front of goal.
“It was good for the strikers to bang in goals and get a bit of confidence.
“After a while, we broke them down and were good enough to finish some of our work, which was good.
“It was good to see Tommy Youngs combining with Melkie and Zac and they’re only going to get better from playing together.
“The other thing was to keep a clean sheet.
“If you’re good enough to put 10 past a team, you don’t want to cop a soft goal.
“I was happy that the guys really looked after the back four and our young keeper Lachie James, who was in for his first hit-out with the seniors.”
The return of Luty was a major positive for Murray after being sidelined for the entire 2018 season with osteitis pubis.
“We brought him on about 30 minutes in and within 10 minutes he had a hat trick,” Jones said.
“He’s still coming from a long way back in terms of his injury and we’re restricting his minutes, but he’s training well and everyone is really excited to have Ryan back around the group.
“He’s a great player and he’s also a really strong character and provides a lot of leadership.”
Woldemichael caused plenty of headaches for the Wangaratta defence in a more attacking role.
“Because of the guys we’ve brought in during the off-season, it’s allowed Melkie to play a little bit higher up,” Jones said.
“His energy and work rate is infectious up there and the guys really benefit from the effort he puts in.
“We know how good Melkie is in our back four, but we’re using him further up the field and know he can drop back at anytime and do a job for us as well.”
Along with Youngs, fellow AWFA recruits Aidan Rees and Josh Zito also made impressive debuts in Murray colours and have settled in well.
“Aidan played really well, although he didn’t get on the scoresheet, he set up three or four of our goals,” Jones added.
“Zito has been fantastic and actually dropped back to centre back because we rested ‘Gilesy’ (Ryan Giles) because he had a little bit of hamstring soreness.”
Captain Ashley Dunn returned back from the UK across the weekend and will slot back into the side for next Saturday’s clash against Northcote City at La Trobe, while Sean Pye is recovering from an adductor issue suffered prior to Christmas and will be monitored.
“We’ve got some options and we’re quite pleased with how we’re tracking, but we’ll know a lot more this weekend against Northcote who are a really strong side and have been training as long as us,” Jones said.
“I think it will be a 5pm kick-off to try and beat the heat.”
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