Despite being denied a victory in their first match of the season, the New England Nomads remain upbeat about their chances in the AFL North West competition.
The Nomads played premiers Inverell Saints in their round two match on Saturday and were far from disgraced.
At three-quarter time, the Nomads were in front by three points but Inverell pegged the scoreline back to win 13.12-90 to 12.5-77.
The Nomads are set to face 2018 runners-up Gunnedah Bulldogs this Saturday and player-coach James Treweeke said they will take positives from the match against the Saints into the coming clash.
"We hadn't really played as a team before so it was going to be a telling game for us to see where we were at and I thought we were very, very close to them," he said.
"I heard a few boys say they were happy to lose these first few games and we can just start working on what we need to do and by the end of the season we can come good.
"That starts this weekend against Gunnedah as well.
"I am pretty sure they got a win so obviously they are a strong team again."
The Nomads will host at the big Bellevue Oval ground and Treweeke is expecting an expansive game.
"It should make for free flowing play," he said.
"Against Inverell, they like to scrap it out and we found that out the hard way on the weekend.
"Gunnedah, they like to spread the play a lot more.
"Fitness is always a concern when you are playing against Gunnedah."
The Nomads' main aim is to build as the season goes on.
The side had five players making their Australian Rules Football debut.
"I think some of the boys are really looking forward to getting out there again," Treweeke said.
"I gave Crofty [Josh Croft] the coaches' award from the weekend, he really grew into the game.
"They are only going to grow in confidence from the weekend.
"We had five blokes who had never played before.
"I think the more games we play with each other, we will get a lot better."
Angus Quail topped the Nomads' goal-scorers' list with five while Dave Richards notched up a brace and Adam See, in his first game since transferring from soccer, kicked two.