NPLV: Ballarat's wait finally over

FINALLY, it is here - the Ballarat Red Devils' National Premier League Victoria debut.

Barring any unforeseen events, the McDonalds Reds will play their first NPLV league match when they travel to Shepparton to take on Goulburn Valley Suns  on Saturday night.

In fact, the entire squad travelled the three-hour journey last night, in what manager James Robinson said was evidence of a new era of professionalism at the club.

Robinson, who has put himself on the long-term injury list with a knee injury, said midfield recruit Dane Milovanovic was the only other absentee, still waiting to serve his one week suspension he incurred last year.

Milovanovic was due to serve his suspension in the Reds' season opener two weeks ago, before the match against Bentleigh Greens was abandoned due to storms and a lack of lighting.

Ballarat has since played two matches since the postponed game, both in the Dockerty Cup, which it bowed out of to Green Gully last Saturday.

Robinson said there was now a calmer feeling before the NPLV debut as a result.

"It's an exciting time around the club, but it has alleviated a lot of the concerns," he said.

"The boys know they belong now, there's that realisation.

"It's a lot more relaxed than two weeks ago, the anticipation and excitement is still very much there, but I think there is more of a sense of calm."

Coming up against Goulburn Valley Suns, who lost 0-1 in their season opener against Oakleigh Cannons, Robinson said he was somewhat familiar with the opposition, but the focus was far more internal.

"We know a few of their players but we really don't know a whole lot about their style. We don't worry about what's going on with other sides much though, we just worry about ourselves," Robinson said.

The match at McEwan Reserve in Shepparton kicks off at 6.30pm.

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