Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes coach Jeremy Rowe expects to use the first half of the Riverina League season experimenting with his team.
The Goannas entered this year's Riverina League competition as one of the flag favourites as they look to end the club's 29-year premiership drought.
But MCUE did not live up to expectation in round one, working hard to overcome Griffith by 19 points at Exies Oval.
While happy to secure the four points, Rowe was less than impressed with the opening round performance and it followed some sub-par trial game efforts.
The Goannas go into this season without centre-half-forward George Kendall and ruckman Sam de Sousa, who both moved interstate over the off-season to pursue new opportunities.
While MCUE have brought numerous players in, finding the right replacements for those roles is proving a challenge and one Rowe has every intention of taking time to solve.
"From our perspective, experimentation is going to continue to exist for us until we find a balance that we're happy with," Rowe said.
"We've got some things that are locked away and we've got some positions where we are waiting for players to return and we've got some real quality to come back into our side. But I can see experimentation going into round five, six, seven, eight for us, until we see, until we get to the point where we're comfortable that we can lock down positions that we think are really important to the end version of us.
"We're still going to happily throw things around, never in a kamakaze or unorganised way, always with some meaning behind it, but we've got to keep giving those opportunities and looking outside the box because we just need to balance our team up at some stage of the season and that's just going to take a bit of time."
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Prolific goalkicker Trent Castles did not play in the opening round, nor did Harry Collins, co-captain Nick Collins or new recruit Ben Halse.
Finding avenues to goal aside from Castles, now that Kendall has moved on, is one of Rowe's top priorities.
"This certainly isn't an excuse but from a structural sense, I'm happy to be really public about that we're on the search to find avenues to goal," he said.
"We know that we've got Trent Castles up our sleeve but we're really trying to find key avenues to goal.
"(On Saturday) we played with Matt Collins and Max Hanrahan ahead of the footy but then we swung both of them back and getting them back there really gave us some steady heads and between the back six, once they got on top from a deep defensive position with some system then our midfielders did begin to lift and we started to win a fair bit of 50-50 footy."
Castles is expected to return for MCUE's next game, against Wagga Tigers on April 23.
Two players that will be battling to play are Isaac Damme and Mitch Sykes, who both suffered 'minor' hamstring injuries in the win over Griffith.
Damme was playing forward and had just booted a goal when he did his just before half-time, while Mitch Sykes, who played as a back up ruck, did his late in the game.
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