THEY passed an acid test against Coolamon, and Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes ruckman Sam De Sousa is looking forward to his biggest personal challenge yet against Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong on Saturday.
The Canberra recruit will clash with the Riverina League's most decorated ruckman Jacob Olsson in a battle of the unbeaten teams at Mangoplah Sportsground.
De Sousa was one of the best on ground against Coolamon on Sunday, where the Goannas rallied from five goals down at quarter time to prevail by six points.
It was the first time MCUE has been significantly tested this year and Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong promises to do likewise after winning their opening four matches easily.
The Lions boast a percentage of just over 350, but face a much bigger challenge the next fortnight against the Goannas and Wagga Tigers.
While they'd love to start better, De Sousa said the Coolamon escape was a great test to come through, especially without a handful of key players.
"It's the belief we got out of the weekend that after we were pantsed in the first quarter, we were able to lift and grind away and turn it around," De Sousa said.
"It was probably our first test from our first few games, and first time we've played from behind."
The Goannas have recruited heavily in their search for a first flag since 1993, and De Sousa said they'll have to get used to having a target on their back against the stronger teams.
"Rowey (coach Jeremy Rowe) uses that term, being the hunted," he said.
"We're definitely in that scenario and the next couple of week will definitely see how we're comparing to the comp."
De Sousa will give away a size advantage to Olsson, but is looking forward to the battle.
"I've only heard about him over the weekend that's he an ex-state league player and a big body. So far I've been against guys pretty similar in size to myself, so it will be exciting to come up against a bigger body," he said.
"I'm used to coming up against people larger than myself in previous years, my plan is to not be too stagnant and mix it up."
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