They might have been well-beaten in their Northern Inland Football top flight debut, but Gunnedah FC captain Matt Williams believes the side has a good season ahead of them.
Taking on premier league heavyweights Oxley Vale Attunga on Saturday after stepping up from the local Tamworth competition to the new Premier Division, Gunnedah went down 8-3 but showed plenty of promising signs.
"We took away a loss today but I think we can take a lot of positives out of that," Williams said.
"This is our first year in the premier league with this team and we've got a lot of young players and they've shown they're up for the fight. Scoring three goals and really matching them for most of the game, we've got a good season ahead of us - I'm confident of that."
He said it has given them a bit of a benchmark of where they need to be.
"It's a lot faster, a lot more physical in premier league but again we've shown we can match it," he said.
"Week on week we're going to build from here and I'm looking forward to round eight when we play again."
They were a bit rusty in the first half, which was to be expected under the circumstances, but for their first game, he thought they gelled really well.
"We were probably a bit further ahead than I thought we would have been, [with our] passing around the park and positional play," he said.
They were playing catch-up from early in the game with Mushies striker Jack Diebold, who proved a handful for the defence all day, slotting the first of his four goals inside the first 10 minutes. That quickly became 2-nil but, despite being under consistent pressure, Gunnedah managed to hold them at bay until late in the half with two quick goals giving the home side a 4-nil lead at the break.
The Mushies struck again early in the second half but Gunnedah rallied and really started to string some promising attack together.
David Silver got them on the board, pouncing on the rebound from the Mushies keeper. A couple of minutes later they again punctured the Mushies defence, Zac Crowhurst this time providing the finishing touch.
FC got their third when Silver found the back of the net for the second time.
The core of the playing group were involved in last season's Tamworth competition triumph but they did have a couple of young players stepping up. Williams was impressed by what he saw from them, particularly wing backs Pete Williams and Jayden Thomas.
They struggled a bit against the Mushies speed up front, but considering, did really well, he said.
Earlier the reserve grade side went down 2-nil.