New Vikings head coach Corey Smith says a strong start to the FFV state league four west season is imperative.
With Smith aiming to put the Sebastopol club in promotion contention, early points are essential.
Vikings did not have their first win until round six last year and Smith does not want to see a repeat of this.
He said the slow start meant they were playing catch-up for the rest of the season before finishing sixth.
Smith also emphasised how tough it was to climb out of state league four, with only one team promoted each season.
Smith has freshened up the Vikings’ squad and will line up four recruits – Adrian Curtain (Ballarat Red Devils), Joris Kerstens (Monbulk Rangers), Cody Gale (Red Devils) and Santo Salvatore (Red Devils), who returns after not playing last season – against Melton Phoenix at Melton in Saturday’s season opener.
Vikings have had an extensive pre-season program, with five practice games and an FFA Cup tie.
Smith said while they were ready to go, there was still plenty of work to do.
“New systems always take time.”
Smith is also excited about the role former Red Devils import Adam Newbold will play.
He said Newbold was much fitter for this campaign and he would be pivotal in the Vikings’ achieving their aspirations, which included improving in all aspects of their performance.