THE scene is set. Flag fancy Portland is on the rebound after a shock loss to Port Fairy and Hamilton Kangaroos are riding a wave of confidence after a surprise win against 2013 grand finalist Koroit.
Add Tigers mentor Jake Myles and new Kangaroos leader Jarrod Holt coaching against their former clubs for the first time and their Anzac Day clash is full of intrigue.
Holt said everything pointed to an exciting round three battle at Hanlon Park on April 25.
“It makes the game in a fortnight’s time even more interesting,” he said of the round two results.
“Portland are coming off a loss and are on the rebound and are hard to beat at home.
“It is a side I have a lot of knowledge about and Jake has a lot of knowledge about Hamilton as well.”
Holt said the Hampden league was wide open in 2014 and round two, where three of the five results were decided by under 10 points, emphasised that.
“It is the way the competition is. Everyone predicted early on it was looking like a tight year,” he said.
“Port Fairy will be tough to beat at home and I’d like to think the same for us, that you have to play well to beat us at home.
“From our point of view we have to make sure we bring our A grade game every week.
“That’s the challenge for us and what the good sides do.”
Holt said the Kangaroos’ come-from-behind win against the Saints emphasised their grit and determination, which they lacked against Cobden in the season opener.
“I was really happy with the result,” he said.
“We showed a bit of character, coming back.
“They kicked seven goals in the first quarter and we could have gone down the track of accepting what happened and putting up with a loss but to the boys’ credit they lifted their intensity.”
Koroit, on the back of four Jesse White first-quarter goals, had a 20-point lead at the first change.
“I felt they got some early goals through a missed tackle or a dropped mark or someone not 100 per cent committing to the contest,” Holt said.
“Koroit are a quality side and made the most of their opportunities. They made it look easy, using it by foot well.”
Holt said the Kangaroos found a spark in the second term and built as the game wore on.
He said ruckman Jason McIntosh moved into defence in the second quarter and played a key role in the Roos’ resurgence.
“He neutralised the contest and got it to ground,” he said.
“The young kids really stepped up in the last quarter and showed a lot of character.
“Tom Feely was excellent in the last quarter and Tim Meulendyks, he’s only 19, was really good in the midfield, Lee Pye and Josh Pepper down back and the twins Sam and Charlie Youngman applied a lot of pressure.
“They went to school in Geelong and are on a gap year.
“They are small, little fellas and are quick and tough in and under.”