LEARMONTH’S 23-point win over Daylesford was the one it needed to have.
It’s just round two and so easy to get carried away, but Saturday’s triumph against a perennial Central Highlands Football League powerhouse has breathed life into the Lakies’ finals aspirations.
After getting so close in 2013, joint coach Brenton Powell has already said that anything less than a top eight berth would be a failure.
And it appears on track. In just 12 months, Learmonth has turned a 93-point defeat against the Bulldogs last year into a comfortable victory, leaving future opposition on notice.
A big off-season recruiting drive focused heavily on getting former players back to the club and it looks to have worked.
Learmonth president Matt Hines said earning respect from the rest of the competition had been a big talking point around the club.
“We’ve talked about that a lot. We have talked about getting the respect back in the league and I think we have nearly got the respect back,” Hines said.
“Even beating Daylesford, it’s only round two and still a long way to go, but that’s what we are looking for.”
Hines said a big part of the success had stemmed from the return of Powell, who has attracted a number of other faces back to the club in his role as joint coach alongside John Northey.
Powell has also had a strong on-field influence, being named in the Lakies’ best in the first two wins against Carngham-Linton and the Dogs.
Hines said there was a number of new leaders at the club this year, including assistant coach Paul Phillips, who had helped make a difference around the senior group.
Learmonth’s next test comes up against a competitive Ballan outfit following the Easter break before unbeaten premiership fancy Waubra.