REIGNING premier Wedderburn and St Arnaud began their North Central Football League seasons with comfortable victories in Saturday’s opening round.
The Redbacks and Saints both won high-scoring encounters, with 70 goals kicked across the NCFL’s first two games of the season.
At Wedderburn, the Redbacks unfurled their third-consecutive premiership flag before defeating one of this season’s expected improvers, Boort, by 41 points - 20.15 (135) to 13.16 (94).
Wedderburn’s Sam Barnes - the NCFL’s most dominant forward - started the season in fine style with a bag of nine goals.
Barnes booted five of his nine goals in the first half.
Brady Herdman added four for the Redbacks, who increased their advantage at each break from five points at quarter-time, to 12 at half-time and 19 at three quarter-time, before the final margin on 41.
Coach Rick Easton kicked five of Boort’s 13 goals.
Wedderburns's best included Herdman, Barnes, Danny Benaim and recruit Mark Lloyd, while Boort was led by Cameron Milward, Christopher Hatcher, Jack Dehne (two goals) and James Keeble.
• On the back of a long pre-season that began in October, St Arnaud proved far too strong for Donald, winning by 60 points at Lord Nelson Park, 22.22 (154) to 15.4 (94).
The Saints controlled the game after they opened up a 17-point advantage at quarter-time.
The Saints kicked five goals in each of the first, second and third quarters, before finishing with seven in the final term.
Daniel Needs kicked six goals for the Saints, while Nathan Brown added four, with the pair among 10 goalkickers. The best players for the Saints included Jobastin Priest, Lachlan Cunningham (three goals), Brown and Caleb Bloomer.
The classy Seamus Young worked hard for Donald to boot six goals to be among the Royals’ best players, along with Brody Haddow, Brent Gilmour and Aaron Grant.
Charlton, Birchip-Watchem and Wycheproof-Narraport had round one byes.