If their pre-season Belgrave Cup win didn't send a warning signal to the rest of the competition, South Armidale's victory over Demon Knights on Friday night would have.
After losing their goalkeeper via a send-off in the opening minutes of the round one Sport UNE Football League match, the Scorpions bounced back to score a 2-1 win. For coach Josh Fern, the most impressive part was the way the remaining 10 players banded together to claim the victory against the side they beat in the Belgrave Cup final the week before.
"It was a pretty exciting game really," he said.
"Our first-half was a bit rough, trying to find our shape, change the game plan a little bit.
"But second-half was really pleasing, the way the boys pulled together.
"When we were down 1-nil at half-time and we came back to win 2-1, it is a good sign of a really good team that is playing together as a team."
Fern said it was tough first-up clash.
"It definitely wasn't easy, DK made it hard," he said.
"It is a good hit out for the start of the season.
"They've set the bar pretty high now, the boys, that is the only problem."
They will have another tough encounter this Saturday when they face an Armidale City Westside team coming off a 4-nil triumph over East Armidale.
Westside have plenty of young talent among their ranks and will have their work cut out for them in coming up against a hardened South Armidale side who are used to playing a tougher style from their time in the Northern Inland Premier League competition.
"I watched the Ex-Servies [City Westside] game on Friday night and I was pretty impressed with what I saw," Fern said.
"Easts were a bit unlucky but Servies have a good little side there so looking forward to the challenge.
"If we go out like we did on Friday night and show up for each other, we are going to be very hard to beat all year."