The New England Nomads were dealt arguably the toughest hand to start their AFL North West season.
After a round one bye, a new-look Nomads faced premiers Inverell Saints in round two for their first hit out of the season.
They were beaten by 13 points but took positives out of the match.
They then came up against 2018 runners-up, the Gunnedah Bulldogs, in round three with a large chunk of the side missing.
The Nomads were beaten 16.8-104 to 9.11-65 but player-coach James Treweeke wasn't too disappointed in their performance.
"We just ran out of legs and they kicked a few late goals which blew it out a bit," he said.
"I knew that Gunnedah had a full-strength team and they are definitely a team we really love playing.
"They are a strong team and they play a similar game-style to how we play."
Treweeke lamented "missing 10 to 12 blokes" didn't help them either.
"It is not an excuse though but it gave an opportunity for a few juniors to come through and get some game time," he said.
"I thought we improved on certain stuff from the week before against Inverell but we also found out a few things we need to work on.
"A lot of the blokes we were missing were midfield so it was pertty tough to throw boys who have only played one game into there and give them a run.
"They get a bit lost, especially playing against some of those Gunnedah fellas who have played a lot games, it is pretty tough to play against them, but it is also a good learning curve for them."
The Nomads head to Tamworth this Saturday to face the Kangaroos who have recorded one win and one loss this season.
Treweeke will have more players available to take the field.
"They are always tough to beat, especially at home," he said.
"Playing them at the Crossroads Cup in Narrabri a few months ago they had a few new blokes, one of them came up from Victoria and he is a very handy player.
"I am pretty sure I have got a few boys back this week so that should help us.
"Hopefully we can get a win on the board this weekend and kick-start the season."