McEwen Reserve will be open for business tonight when the Goulburn Valley Suns return home for the first time this season.
Waiting for this incarnation of the orange and navy beast will be Box Hill United, with both teams forced to share the points in their respective season-openers.
The Suns blew a 2-0 lead at Springvale last Saturday to draw 2-2, while United was held at home by Northcote City in a 1-1 draw.
And despite the Suns picking up eight more points than their opposition last season, coach Craig Carley expected a challenge as his side looks to bank three points for the first time this season.
‘‘It’s another tough test, Box Hill is a very quick transitioning side,’’ he said.
‘‘They’re quite a young line-up but they like to play football, we have to be ruthless in defence as well as ruthless in attack. It’s certainly a game we’re looking to pick up three points in, though.’’
Turning the Theatre of Dreams into a fortress is top of the priority list, but it was a task easier said than done last campaign, particularly defensively where the Suns shipped 28 goals in 14 games, two per game.
They won just five of 14 home games and kept a clean sheet just twice — their meeting with United one of the low-lights being a 4-3 loss after leading 3-1.
But Carley took positives from the round one draw, and hoped killer instinct in front of goal would net a big result this weekend.
‘‘We controlled the game without playing overly well, we looked confident with the ball and when we put them under pressure they were coughing the ball up,’’ he said.
‘‘At times we were playing the ball forward too quickly but we spoke about that at half-time and took over. It was only the last 10 to 15 minutes where they capitalised.’’
Winger Alou Kuol will start the game after impressing off the bench against Springvale, Carley hoping the prodigal Sun can continue his development.
‘‘Alou will definitely start, we’ve had a few hiccups with him in the last couple of weeks but his footballing ability has never been in question, he’s the best young talent in the region by a mile,’’ he said.
‘‘He’s just got to make sure he’s working on that other stuff, but when that’s in check there’s no doubting his talent.’’