Around the grounds with steve tervet - north albury's big round 2 win!

They say good things come to those who wait – and North Albury has certainly had to wait.

Eight years, in fact – that’s how long it had been since the Hoppers last overturned Wangaratta before a barnstorming afternoon at Bunton Park finally ended the drought.

Victory in the Round 2 epic last Saturday ended a painful run of 12 successive defeats to the Mapgies, by an average losing margin of more than 100 points.

So the strength of feeling in the North rooms post-match came as little surprise, with one man’s emotion encapsulating the mood.

Put simply, to see Hoppers president Tony Burns punching the air in pure ecstasy as his players belted out the team song was to understand exactly what this result represented to every diehard in green and gold.

“I had tears in my eyes,” Burns admitted. “That room was packed out with the Hopper family… it’s just fantastic.

“Wangaratta are one of the benchmarks in the league so I’m just stuck for words.

“The boys have been working their butts off for the last 18 months as have everyone involved; our committee and the recruiters.

“We haven’t got the high-profile people around but we’ve got all these country kids who believe in themselves and believe in our game plan.

“This club means so much to a lot of people. We’re all blue-collar workers, we’re like a family and we love the club.”

As recently as 2022, captain George Godde was on the wrong end of a 28-goal thrashing at the hands of the Pies.

“It’s honestly such a different feeling,” Godde smiled.

“You’re coming off at this time of year (after losing) and you’re dreading the rest of the year but now we can’t wait for next week.

“It’s just a good vibe and it sets us up for the season, beating one of the top three sides.

“We all put in the work but it’s the belief it’s given everyone now.

“We should go into every game with this belief so it’s exciting.”

The stock of coach Tim Broomhead continues to rise with every forward step North Albury takes under the tutelage of the ex-Collingwood man.

“That’s the fifth time I’ve played them and it’s the first time we’ve been within 14 goals,” Broomhead reflected.

“So to take a scalp like Wangaratta, who are renowned to be a really good team, will do wonders for the group.

“It will set up our year and hopefully we can take a lot of belief out of it and keep building momentum now.

“Even last year, against the top few teams, we probably got beaten too easily.

“Coming into this year, there was still a bit of the unknown on how we’d go against some of those teams but we knew that if we did the things that we do well and played how we want to play, that we can compete with teams like them.”