Berwick was under no illusions about the challenges its first season in the Eastern Football League would present.
And heading into their clash with Norwood, two months and four games had elapsed since the Wicks’ last triumph.
They were starting to paddle in relegation waters.
Regardless, coach Clint Evans maintains the players’ belief never wavered, despite the heavy toll injuries have taken as well as the change in pace from the AFL Outer East.
“We’ve had the belief, today Riley Hollis played his first game and that’s our 38th senior player we’ve played this year in eight games … we’ve just had a lot of injuries,” Evans said.
“Coming from being so successful for five or six years, and then we’re losing games … we’re not getting smashed, we’ve been in games, we just haven’t sustained an effort and we’re changing four or five blokes every week.”
On Saturday, Berwick did sustain an effort however, taking a vital win over Norwood.
The Wicks controlled the first quarter, skipping to a 17-point lead that would prove unassailable as goals came at a premium for the rest of the contest.
Livewire forward Harrison Money treated the crowd to an early highlight, saddling a Norseman’s back and plucking the ball from the sky.
He would finish with a game-high three goals and be among Berwick’s best.
AFL: Player Rankings: Top 10 Performers of Round 16
LAST WEEK: AFLOE: Beaconsfield stave off storming Narre Warren
INTERVIEWS: Ravi Ratnayeke: The story of Sri Lanka's 12th Test cricketer
The Wicks extended their lead by five in a scrappy second term that brought just one goal, going in at 5.5 (35) to 1.7 (13) at the main break.
Travis Tuck set the tone for Berwick in the third quarter, performing a big chase-down tackle and nailing the subsequent set-shot.
The former Hawthorn player made his presence felt throughout the game, tackling with gusto and clunking some big marks.
His was again the only goal for the term as Norwood was held scoreless for the second quarter running.
It was a frustrating day for the Norsemen, who were marred by skill errors.
They would finish with just three goals from 15 scoring shots.
Norwood did threaten to mount a comeback with the first goal of the last quarter however, but it was to no avail as Berwick retaliated through Trent Thomas, who used his body superbly to get the ball over the back and booted a long-range goal.
Money nailed a tight set-shot soon after to cap off the 9.10 (64) to 3.12 (30) victory, and was met with joyous cheers from the boisterous Edwin Flack crowd.
Evans believed the home ground advantage worked in Berwick’s favour, crediting its size as a key element in the win.
“I think it definitely (played to our advantage), especially because they had a few real big boys,” he said.
“We sort of had a look at them and how they played last week, and they were on a small ground, they like contested footy.
“I thought our run and carry today was really good and we just tried to open them up, which we did a few times, and it helped out on the scoreboard.”
Enjoying this article?
Click here to subscribe to our newsletter and get local footy straight to your inbox!
As for the overall effort, Evans was especially pleased with the consistency over four quarters.
“I thought our pressure from start to finish was probably the biggest thing, and we just kept it up,” he said.
“Once we sustained it for four quarters it was always going to be hard for them to come back after the start we got.
“I think everyone played their role – I know it’s the old cliche – but I don’t think I could say there was one person that really stood out.
“I think we gave our votes to about 10 players, everyone just played their role and our pressure from the get-go was really good.”