ON THE BALL: Chris Jancevski Noosa's left back on a trade mark run from defence.
ON THE BALL: Chris Jancevski Noosa's left back on a trade mark run from defence. Contributed

Nervous Lions supporters lap up a goal feast

AFTER what could best be described as a patchy pre-season, with the senior team not winning a game, club members sitting on the sidelines were a little apprehensive as the ball was put into play for the season opener for the Noosa Lions Premier Men on Saturday.

Noosa lions fans only had to wind the clock back 12 months and remember that the team was in a similar position in week 1, in the 2017 Premiership winning season.

Trepidation soon turned into jubilation after a barn-storming run down the left wing by Chris Jancevski was completed by a perfect cross that was dispatched to the back of the net by Alex Barlow.

The premiers were off to a good start but Kawana came back with 10-15 minutes of concerted attack. For the first time in 2018 the Lions switched effortlessly from threatening attack to resolute defence.

Coach Kevin Aherne-Evans' experiment with a new formation that leaked goals during the trails and FA cup matches had paid off with the Kawana's trademark raids down the flanks snuffed out with ease.

A high quality opening quarter settled into a more dogged affair for the last 20 minutes of the half with Noosa going into the sheds one goal ahead.

Running into the wind in the second half Noosa came out and dominated their opposition both in attack and defence.

Just as he did in the opening game of 2017, captain Grant de Chastel also got in on the goals after he collected a clever pass from Matt Needham to go around the goal keeper and slot it into an empty net.

Moved into a more central position, veteran forward Alex Barlow had plenty of quality possession, scoring an excellent second and just missing his hat trick in the 70th minute after which he was replaced by Matt Thompson.

The two wingers Tim Hollingworth and Chris Jancevski were a threat going forward with Hollingworth providing Thompson's tap in after driving to the goal line and bamboozling a young defender.

Jancevski scored one of his own through a perfectly executed one-two after receiving a deadly pass from Matt Needham.

Aherne-Evans on the win: "Obviously very pleasing to get the three points, we caught Kawana on an off night and full credit to the players for showing their ruthlessness.

"However it is only our first game and I think it will take us another 6-7 games to get right the changes to style of play.

"We must now back up this result away at Maroochydore.

"The Swans beat us in last year's grand final, so clearly motivation to win the game will be at an all time high.”

It was a noisy Lions change room after the match celebrating a thumping 6-0 victory handed out to a Kawana side that was missing some of its characteristic fire power from previous years.

Brian Stockwell

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