HASTINGS Valley Vikings started the Dave Henry era in the best possible fashion with a 31-20 win over Kempsey at Oxley Oval on Saturday.
Henry took over from former coach Mark Howard in the off-season and while the Vikings were clunky at times, they always appeared to have the match under control.
The 11-point win was set up with an impressive first-half performance that saw the Vikings head to the sheds with a 17-3 advantage.
Adam McCormack was the star, crossing for three tries while Nathan Swift also grabbed a five-pointer.
Kenny Anderson was flawless with the boot.
Coach Henry was impressed with the performance of his side who were challenged at various stages by a committed Cannonballs outfit.
“Our blokes held their gloves up and we saw some glimpses of what we’re capable of and where we’re going as a footy team,” he said.
“With a bit of luck we would have got a couple more tries, but Kempsey are a good team who kept hanging in there and kept competing.”
It wasn’t a pretty win, but coach Henry was happy with the overall performance for the first round of the season.
“It was an ugly win in the first game of footy for the year,” he said.
“But we found out a bit more about our footy team and we’re pretty happy with where we are and certainly happy with the style of footy we played.”
Henry admitted the Vikings had their chances to put the game beyond doubt, but Kempsey refused to go away.
“We didn’t really manage to put them away; at one point when we got to 24-10 they could well have given up, but they kept working really hard,” he said.
“We controlled the game fairly well and we’re happy with the result.
“We’re happy with some of the things we did, but we know we can play a lot better.
“How we looked on Saturday and how we’ll look in six to eight weeks will be miles ahead of where we were.”