EVERYONE who made the effort to take the long drive to Leitchville on Saturday was under no illusions of the task facing the Saints.
Still without a number of key pre-season signings Heathcote was facing the reigning premiers and they are once again favourite for that title in the new season.
The Leitchville Oval has wide expanses that very much suit the fast run-on game of the Bombers and it was obvious from the first bounce the Heathcote team was in for a long day.
The on-ball brilliance of Leitchville-Gunbower saw them take control of the ball around the packs and they were soon pumping it up forward to the waiting Matt Perri.
Marc Millard was again the consummate defender and his intercepts and ability to repel the countless Bombers’ forward thrusts kept the margin respectable in the first half.
He shows no indications of missing the last two seasons of football and is providing the under siege defence with some strong leadership.
Ben Connelly gave the team a contest across the half forward line all day and competed strongly against overwhelming odds.
With the likely return of Luke Bell, Dan Russell and Damien King he will have some bigger bodies to support him.
A highlight of the day was youngster Jack Brooks marking and then slotting through the team’s only goal in the second term on his senior debut.
Nathan Bake continues to provide a contest at every opportunity and his attack on the ball and the packs is to be admired.
He broke free on a couple of occasions to take some uncontested marks, but he makes his opposition forward his first priority.
Leitchville-Gunbower was at full strength and Carl Obst had a never-ending stream of big men to combat, but continues to compete in the air.
His hard work around the ground gave opportunities for the Saints small men to get their hands on the ball.
Tom Pain worked hard on the wing and he shows early promise and will improve as he gets to know his new team-mates.
It would be easy to condemn the team after two outings but with five certain starters still out of the list there is scope for improvement.
This week the team faces arch-rivals Mount Pleasant at home and there is a chance for the team to catch its breath and reset for the season.