WHITE Hills opened its 2014 account with a 29-point win over North Bendigo at Classique Development Oval.
After losing to Leitchville-Gunbower and Mount Pleasant in the opening two rounds of the HDFL season, the Demons couldn’t afford to drop to 0-3.
Despite the loss of star recruit Jake Ward with a shoulder injury in the second quarter, the Demons proved too strong for the Bulldogs, 13.13 (91) to 8.14 (62).
“I reinforced to the boys before the game that we weren’t playing like a team that was 0-2,’’ White Hills coach Shaun Makepeace said after the win.
“Even though we hadn’t won a game, we hadn’t done a lot wrong.
“We’ve been improving and today was the day we put it all together over four quarters.
“North Bendigo probably rues missing a few chances in the first quarter, but after that we played some good footy.”
After trailing by 12 points at the first break, the Demons set up their win with a six-goal to one second term.
The White Hills’ backline, led by Mitch Curtis and Matthew Frecker, was rock solid all day, while ruckman Matt Lehane took some telling contested marks across half-back.
Midfielder Jacob Heavyside was the standout performer for the Demons.
He won plenty of possessions around the ground and, more importantly, made the most of his opportunities forward of centre to kick four goals.
“Heavyside worked really hard all day,’’ Makepeace said.
“He found himself in the right spots and that was clearly his best game for us.”
The Bulldogs were best served by Ash Craig across half-back and Jordan Ford, who restricted Ricky Symes to one goal.
“We were completely outplayed today,’’ North Bendigo co-coach Rob Bennett said.
“White Hills beat us at the contested footy and worked much harder as a team.
“I said to the boys after the game that we should be embarrassed by the way we played.”
The Bulldogs now face a Colbinabbin side fresh from an eight-goal drubbing of Mount Pleasant.
“You find out just how good some players are by the way they respond to a loss, so it will be interesting to see how we go next week,’’ Bennett added.
Reigning premier Lockington-Bamawm United handed Elmore a 134-point hiding.
Elmore threw everything at the Cats early on, but the home side’s class took over as the game wore on.
LBU kicked 18.10 to 2.7 after half-time to win the match, 24.19 (163) to 4.15 (39).
“Elmore missed a few chances in the first quarter and they could have kicked five goals instead of being 0.8,’’ LBU coach Adrian Dohnt said.
“We were under some pressure early, but from the second quarter onwards we started to get our running game going and we eventually got on top.”
Small forward Jeremy Mundie had a day out for the Cats, kicking six goals. Chris Hudson and Matthew Deledio added four goal each.
Midfielder Paul Hudson played his best game for the club, while former coach Kahl Oliver was superb at centre half-forward.
On a tough day for Elmore, rover Jeff McMurtie was clearly the Bloods best, while Amir Dianati (two goals), James Harney, Matthew Stokes and Ty Parsons battled hard.