Brady Herdman reminded the HDFNL of his class when he bagged 12 goals for North Bendigo in his first game out of retirement.
Herdman kicked six goals in each half and spent most of the final quarter on the bench as the Bulldogs thrashed Huntly 31.11 (197) to 9.7 (61) in their round one clash at Atkins Street.
"To start that way is really positive,'' North Bendigo coach Matt Dillon said.
"Huntly has lost a lot of talent and they have a very young side. The pleasing thing for us is the way we played.
"We were a bit slow to start, but once our intensity picked up we got into the game."
Dillon couldn't have been more impressed by Herdman's first match.
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"It's good to be on his side for a change,'' Dillon said.
"I played against him a bit over the years and he caused some heartache.
"After having a year out of the game his clean hands were pretty remarkable."
The Hawks trailed the Bulldogs by just nine points at the first change, but were kept goalless in the second and third quarters.
"The defence was really good. I know we kicked a lot goals, but a lot that came from winning the footy across half-back,'' Dillon said.
Midfielder Jake Hyland was superb in his first game for the club.
Small forwards Ben Knight and Storm Giri kicked nine goals between them, while Jarrod Findlay collected a mountain of possessions.
The negative for the Bulldogs was a hand injury to big man Ryan Gow.
Phil Ryan played a long hand in attack for Huntly, kicking five goals to be his side's best player.
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The Hawks also named Alex Daniels, Matt Jeffries and Stacy Fiske in their best players.
Colbinabbin needed a second-half surge to shake-off a much-improved Elmore.
The Grasshoppers' 18.19 (127) to 12.8 (80) win wasn't as easy as the final scoreline suggested.
"Elmore has really improved in seniors and reserves,'' Colbo coach Julian Bull.
"I don't think they won a game in the reserves last year and they took it right up to us in the reserves.
"They've definitley added some good players in."
Elmore led Colbo by a goal at quarter-time before the Hoppers added six goals to three in the second term.
The home side battled hard in the third quarter to stay within 20 points at the final break.
Colbo took over in the final quarter, adding six goals to two.
"We had a lot of good, clean forward entries, but didn't put it on the scoreboard until the last quarter,'' Bull said.
"That hurt us at that end of the ground and at the other end of the ground Elmore had a dangerous new guy (Romain Grenville) who kicked a number of unreal goals from the boundary and long range."
Grenville kicked eight goals on debut for Elmore to be the Bloods' best player alongside Zac Laffy and Ian Fuller.
Colbo's win came at a cost with star recruit Daniel Connors and assistant coach Patty O'Brien both straining hamstrings in the first quarter.
Bull expects both players to miss at least a month.
"To have two key players go down with hamstring injuries in the first 10 minutes of the game hurt us,'' Bull said.
"It stuffed our rotations up and a lot of players had to carry a fair workload.
"Connors had taken five marks and had three shots at goal in the first eight minutes before he got injured.
"He'd been training hard, so it was disappointing to see him go down like that."
Recruit Ben Southam impressed for Colbo off half-back, Damien Carmody was solid in defence and forward Ryan Hon stepped up in Connors' absence and kicked five goals.
Lockington-Bamawm United scored its second big win in as many weeks when it thumped Heathcote.
After defeating White Hills by 15 goals in last week's standalone season-opener, the Cats backed up with an equally dominant 26.12 (168) to 4.8 (32) win over Heathcote.
Last week it was Lachie Collins and Jarod Bacon who did all the damage inside forward 50 for the Cats.
This week it was Pat Gardiner and teenager Stanley Brentnall.
Full-forward Gardiner kicked nine goals, while Brentnall, who was promoted from the under-17s, bobbed up with a career-high seven majors.
"Our strength is that we don't have one forward that we rely on,'' Oliver said.
"Having that spread of options gives us a lot of confidence."
The Cats led 12 goals to four at the main break before adding 14.6 to 0.4 after half-time.
Jacob Gardiner followed up his good performance in round one by kicking four goals for the Cats.
Rhys Woodland and Bart Phillips controlled the play across half-back and Nathan Bacon had a team-high 10 tackles.
Heathcote's cause wasn't helped by an injury to star recruit Codie Price.
Price suffered concussion in a tackle and was transported to Echuca Hospital by ambulance. He spent three hours in hospital before being discharged on Saturday night.
Price had been the Saints best player across half-back.
Dylan Robinson showed some good signs inside forward 50 for the Saints and he kicked two of their four goals.
Defender Luke Bell did a good job on Cats' star Lachie Collins, restricting the dangerous forward to two goals.
A six-goal-to-one first term proced to be the difference in Leitchville-Gunbower's 14-point win over Mt Pleasant at Leitchville.
The Bombers unfurled the premiership flag and then jumped the Blues, kicking six of the first seven goals to lead by 28 points at quarter-time.
To Mounts' credit they didn't panic and they worked their way back into the game with a strong second term.
The second-half was a slog and it came down to which side made the most of their scoring opportunities.
It was the Bombers who were better with the ball forward of centre and they held off the Blues, 13.8 (86) to 10.12 (72).
Mounts' coach Darren Walsh was disappointed not to get the points, but proud of the way his side fought back.
"In the past we wouldn't have worked our way back into the game like that,'' Walsh said.
"That part of the game was pleasing, but we could have pinched it had we used the ball better."
Walsh said the Blues would build on the round one performance.
"Leitchville-Gunbwower is still a very good side,'' Walsh said.
"They had nine premiership players who are top-class players. They're going to be very hard to beat, particularly on their big home ground."
Bombers' young gun Logan Prout was outstanding through the middle of the ground.
Premiership forwards Jake Vandongen and Daniel Coates kicked five goals between them and had a major impact on the game.
Mounts were best served by running players Joseph Whiting and Jesse Tuohey.
Former Kyneton defender Bryce Hinneberg made an encouraging start to his HDFNL career.
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