PORT Macquarie Magpie Scott Dalton admits it has been a long time coming as they prepare to get their hands on the footy for the first time in a long time.
The Magpies will host a three-way trial against Warners Bay and Killarney Vale on Saturday at St Joseph’s Regional College.
It will be the ‘Pies final chance to get in some much-needed practice ahead of their season-opener at Sawtell on April 1.
But the weather god’s could have something to say about that with more than 200 millimetres of rain falling in the Hastings between 9pm on Tuesday night and 9am on Thursday.
How well the surface stands up to such a deluge remains unknown, but Dalton was hopeful of getting on the field.
“Hopefully we get a good hit-out before round one,” he said.
“In the past we have had a team from Newcastle come up, but last year we had an intra-club trial instead.
“The Black Diamond league is pretty good standard, but I haven’t played any of the teams from down there personally.
“It will be good to see where we’re at in footy on the North Coast.”
It’s always hard to get a gauge on where you’re at without playing a proper game and having some training.Scott Dalton
While the result won’t be important, Dalton said it remained an important match for the Magpies to see where they can improve for 2017.
“It’s always hard to get a gauge on where you’re at without playing a proper game and having some training,” he said.
“We’ve got a few new guys that have come to the club so it will be good to see how they go in a proper hit-out.”
The Magpies have some unfinished business after they were knocked out of the AFL North Coast competition in the semi-final stage last year.
Dalton admitted it was something which still haunted some of the playing group.
“It definitely hurts what happened last year especially with the start to the season we had,” he said.
“To get knocked out in the semi we were pretty disappointed with our efforts, but it always fuels the belly a bit and you always want to go one better.
“We had a few injuries, but the other teams had some players come back so they were missing a few players at the start of the season so we got a bit of a run on and then the other team’s caught up.
“It was still a pretty even competition throughout.”
Coach Anthony Beasley will again take charge of the team and is searching to replace players such as Riley Irwin and James Nelson who have left town.
“They added a fair bit of speed to our midfield and off the backline so we’re looking to replace them,” Dalton said.
“August last year was our last game, but I don’t mind wet weather footy. It’s going to be a tough hit-out.”
Play starts from 12.30pm on Saturday at Regional College.