STRATHFIELDSAYE Storm made a brilliant start to the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League season as it won Saturday’s senior footy clash with Eaglehawk by 38 points.
Storm raced to a seven-goal lead by half-time at Triple M Park in Tannery Lane.
The play of Michelsen medallist and Ron Best medallist Lachlan Sharp was among many highs as he kicked six goals in the 14.14 (98) to 8.12 (60) victory.
Storm’s first-half blitz was outstanding.
Strathfieldsaye slammed on 8.5 in the first hour and a strong defence limited the Hawks to just 1.5.
The Borough lifted to win the second half, albeit by four points.
In his second season as Strathfieldsaye coach, Troy Coates booted four goals against his former club as Sam Heavyside, key forward Hugh Robertson, Hunter Lawrence and Ben Lester won many contests.
Leading goalkicker for Eaglehawk was Jarryd Pertzel on four.
Key defender Oscar Madden worked hard all match as Dylan Hanley, Richard Tibbett and Ben McPhee also figured among the best.
It looked a matter of how far South Bendigo as the Bloods raced to a 46-point lead by half-time of the clash with Maryborough at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
The Nathan Horbury-coached South Bendigo slammed on 7.12 to 1.2 in the opening hour.
Maryborough fought back brilliantly in the third as it scored five goals and kept the rampant Bloods to just one.
By the final siren it was South Bendigo which led 14.13 (97) to 9.11 (65).
Kaiden Antonowicz, Brady Childs and Brock Harvey all kicked three goals for the winners.
Maryborough’s attack was led by Matt Bilton and Jayden Templeton on three, as Stewart Crameri marked his return to the Pies, after stints with AFL clubs Essendon, Western Bulldogs and Geelong by kicking two goals.
Bloods’ key defender Daniel Nalder was best afield as midfielders Brody Haddow and Zac Hare also starred.
Best for Maryborough were Aidan Hare, Bilton, Luke Bucknall and Lachlan Crameri.
Sandhurst dominated the second half of its showdown with Kangaroo Flat at Bendigo Mazda Oval in Dower Park.
The Dragons led 30-16 at half-time and then clicked up a few gears to race to a 15.12 (102) to 3.11 (29) victory.
It was contrasting emotions for new coaches, Ash Connick at Sandhurst, and Rob Bennett at Kangaroo Flat.
Connick would have been rapt with the Dragons work at centre clearances, defensive pressure, and a spread of 10 goalkickers.
The Dragons’ attack was led by Adam Parry on three goals, as Andy Collins, Vincent Rodi and Lachlan Tardrew chipped in with two apiece.
Jeremy Rodi was best afield as Josh Hann, Parry and Tardrew also starred.
Kangaroo Flat ruckman Nick Lang showed why he is one of the league’s best, while Max Johnson, Trent McInnes and Daniel Rees worked hard.
The Gisborne Bulldogs are top of the ladder after a 93-point win at Castlemaine’s Camp Reserve.
Bolstered by the return of Pat McKenna and Casey Summerfield, Gisborne won 17.20 (122) to 3.11 (29).
Jack Scanlon led the attack on four goals as the Bulldogs had 11 goalkickers.
Trent Crosbie was best afield as ruckman Josh Grabham, Matt Edwards and Liam Spear played well for the Clinton Young-coached Gisborne.
There was little for Castlemaine fans to cheer about, although they would have been rapt by the play of former Essendon and Port Adelaide forward-midfielder Angus Monfries.
Dylan Atkins, Monfries, Tyler Gavralas and Matt Filo were best for the Magpies.
One of Golden Square’s key recruits, Liam Barrett was best afield and kicked three goals in the 43-point against Kyneton.
The Dogs led 54-39 at half-time and then surged clear at Tigerland to win 17.14 (116) to 11.7 (73).
Golden Square coach Bernie Haberman would have been rapt to have 12 players on the goalkicking list, and the slick teamwork by the on-ballers and pacy midfield.
Barrett led the way as Sam Brinsmead, Jack Geary and Hamish Morcom chipped in with two apiece.
For Kyneton, Nathan Thompson kicked two goals in his comeback, as did Rhys Magin and Jacob Plowman.
Golden Square’s best were Liam Barrett, Adam Baird, Jake Thrum and ruckman Matt Compston.
Best for the Tigers were Josh Govan, key defender Harrison Huntley, Rhys Smith and Ben Xiriha.
Round two kicks off Good Friday.
A highlight for Eaglehawk fans will be the unfurling of the senior premiership flag before the Two Blues tackle South Bendigo at Canterbury Park from 2.20pm.
Gisborne faces Kyneton from 2.20pm at Gardiner Reserve.
Maryborough and Castlemaine meet in the battle of the Magpies at Barkers Oval, Princes Park from 5.30pm.
Match of the day will be at the Queen Elizabeth Oval when Sandhurst clashes with Strathfieldsaye from 5.30pm.
Play on Easter Saturday is at Fur Life Vet Oval in Wade Street, Golden Square when the Bulldogs take on the neighbouring Kangaroo Flat from 2.20pm.
Bendigo FNL senior footy ladder:
Gisborne 420 per cent; 4 points; Sandhurst 351, 4; Strathfieldsaye 163, 4; Golden Square 158, 4; South Bendigo 149, 4; Maryborough 67, 0; Kyneton 62, 0; Eaglehawk 61, 0; Kangaroo Flat 28, 0; Castlemaine 0, 23.