By ADEM SARICAOGLU
HILLSIDE coach Steve Kolyniuk believes his Sharks have caught some of the Essendon District Football League’s Division One contenders off guard so far this season.
Many pundits had written Hillside off prior to the 2014 season after a summer marred by key departures following the heavy investment that landed the 2013 Division Two flag.
So strong were the Sharks in Division Two, it was thought their 2013 squad would have been good enough to win Division One – a view Kolyniuk shares.
Though Hillside’s 2014 list may be watered down, it has started the new season well, pushing pre-season flag favourite Tullamarine all the way in round one before finally overcoming its local nemesis, Taylors Lakes, on Good Friday.
Despite showing promising early signs it is far from the danger of relegation, Kolyniuk has played down Hillside’s early season form.
“We just need to be competitive in every game we play,” Kolyniuk said.
“That’s our goal and we have been in the first two games. We lost the first one and had bad discipline cost us a little bit there but I certainly think we were probably lucky (against Taylors Lakes).
“I think they had a few injuries but look, I’m pleased with the start anyway. But the goal is to be competitive in every game and so far, so good.”
As the Taylors Lakes game was the only one played in Division One on Good Friday, Kolyniuk is fully aware the rest of the competition would have stood up and taken notice of his side.
“With us the advantage we’ve got is we’ve caught a few teams off-guard, but obviously there would have been pretty much everyone there watching last Friday,” he said.
“They would have had a look at some things so it’s not going to be as easy for us over the next five or six weeks.
“We were coming up against Tulla who are a good side and they didn’t really pay much attention to us.
“All of a sudden we nearly beat them so it’s like ‘next time we play Hillside we’ve got to pay them a bit more respect’ and the same with Taylors Lakes, because they hadn’t got to see us yet, either.”
Kolyniuk said he was pleased his Sharks have managed to gain some respect within the division.
“There’s a lot of pride down there,” he said.
“But we’re not getting carried away with it. We’ve got a pretty level-headed group.”