SANDHURST and Gisborne are the only unbeaten teams in the BFNL after the Dragons handed flag favourites Strathfieldsaye a 79-point belting at Flight Centre Park.
The margin flattered the undermanned Storm, with the Dragons wasting numerous chances in front of goal in their 16.18 (114) to 5.5 (35) win.
While the big win is bound to raise expectations for the Dragons, coach Brett Fitzpatrick was quick to put the win in perspective.
“We said before the game that if we’re going to be any good this year the opportunity was there for us to make a statement because of the depth of Strathfieldsaye’s injury list,’’ Fitzpatrick said.
“If we failed to do that then Strath deserved to have ownership of the competition.
“I was happy with the way we went about it and kept the pressure on Strathfieldsaye all day.
“It was a good win, but Strathfieldsaye were obviously limited.”
Centre half-forward Ben Anderson was the clear standout for the Dragons.
He took 12 marks, kicked three goals – probably should have kicked six or seven.
The Dragons have established a forward structure which will give rival coaches plenty of headaches.
Anderson floats across half-forward, with Ryan Haythorpe (four goals, eight marks) and livewire Mitch Dole (four goals) playing from the goalsquare.
Sandhurst’s leg speed and slick ball movement gave the three forwards plenty of opportunities to shine.
Recruit Ryan Maldenis was superb through the middle of the ground, while ruckman Tim Martin set the tone for the day with a dominant first half.
Alex Wharton, Luke O’Sullivan and Albert Weddell all made an impact on a day the Dragons didn’t have a poor player.
“There will be bigger expectations from those outside the club now,’’ Fitzpatrick said.
“It’s up to us to believe what we want to believe about ourselves.
“We just need to focus on each week and give each opponent we face the respect they deserve.”