Vaughan Coveny says Melbourne Victory deserves its place in the top tier of Victorian football after defeating Northcote City 1-0 at the weekend.
The match was Victory's maiden PS4 NPL Victoria appearance, with a Joey Katebian goal 15 minutes from time securing the points.
Acting head coach Coveny expressed his delight with the result, but also acknowledged that his men will have to be at their best after winning promotion last season.
"I'm really happy for the group," he said.
"They deserve to be in this competition after last year's performance. It's going to be a lot tougher this year and we found that out today.
"But I think we deserved the win all in all over the 90 minutes."
Playing their first competitive game for Victory were young guns Matt Hennessey and Joshua Hope, who came in and acquitted themselves admirably.
Hennessey, who joined Victory from fellow PS4 NPL Victoria side Hume City in the off-season was solid as a rock in the centre of defence, while Hope looked menacing when going forward.
Their debuts thrilled Coveny, who was just as impressed with the overall performance.
"Matt was terrific. It shows that he's got NPL experience. We had Josh Hope who came in, George (Howard) who played as well," Coveny said.
"In general, all of them were really good. We dominated possession – we kept the ball well and it could've been one or two more.
"It's a good start, but it's only a start. We know that it's going to be a tough competition and we're just going to have to grind out those results.”
Melbourne next faces Port Melbourne at JL Murphy Reserve on Friday night.
Click here to view Victory's 2016 PS4 NPL Victoria fixture.
Victory is also offering an NPL membership for 2016, which includes access to all 13 home games at Epping Stadium. For more details, click here.