READ MORE - Colbinabbin v LBU | PHOTOS
A FIRST-quarter avalanche of goals paved the way for Lockington-Bamawm United to further strengthen its credentials in the Heathcote District league by beating Colbinabbin on Friday.
Touted as two of the expected teams to be among those vying for the flag at the business end of the season, it was the Cats who made a strong statement on Good Friday with a 36-point win.
The Cats' impressive 17.11 (113) to 11.11 (77) victory at Colbinabbin comes on the back of their 136-point and 94-point beltings of Heathcote and White Hills in their first two games.
The Cats ambushed the Grasshoppers in the opening quarter, with their fast-paced brand of corridor football rewarded with a 36-point advantage as they led 9.1 to 3.1 after an opening term that not only lasted 37 minutes, but also had plenty of heated tussles.
Faced with a six-goal deficit at quarter-time, the Grasshoppers rallied during the second term and were back within 12 points by the main break, but the home side was left to rue not only its slow start, but another wretched run with injuries that took its toll.
Keen for his side to test itself against an opponent that has been as highly-touted as Colbinabbin, Cats coach Kahl Oliver was thrilled with LBU's performance, in particular its red-hot start to the contest.
"We started really well, which was pleasing. We let them back in during the second quarter, but to our credit, we stuck with it and were able to have a good win," Oliver said.
"We got our hands dirty again in the second half and really wanted to win the contest, which was a pleasing response to what happened in the second quarter.
"I was really excited to come up against a side today that should finish in the top three to get a really good idea of where we're at.
"The boys have got some confidence and are playing some good football at the moment. At the start of the year we set ourselves to win our first four games, so we're still in the mix to do that."
With a dangerous arsenal of forwards in attack, it was Thomas Leech who proved the biggest thorn in the side of the Colbinabbin defence, booting six goals for the Cats.
As well as Leech, also among the standouts for the Cats was Nathan Bacon through the midfield, Rhys Woodland in defence and the consistent Liam Main, who played on a wing in the first half before shifting to the backline in the third quarter following a hamstring injury to Charlie Hinks.
The depth at Colbinabbin is facing an early season test after enduring a challenging day on the injury front for the second week in a row.
The Grasshoppers lost forwards Ryan Hon (foot) and 15-year-old Hugh Hamilton (shoulder) and midfielder Nat Nixon (hamstring) all before half-time on the back of having Nick Knight, Jono Barnett, Patty O'Brien and Daniel Connors all omissions due to injury from the previous week.
Meanwhile, coach Julian Bull was bitterly disappointed in his side's first quarter effort given the Grasshoppers had prepared all week for the Cats' slick running game, but were unable to close it down early.
"We let them jump us... and I mean we let them jump us because we had spoken about the way they want to play before the game and we let them do it," Bull said.
"It took until quarter-time for us to try to pull it up and we lacked a bit of leadership out on the field.
"Once we were able to change the tempo of the game after quarter-time I thought we played pretty well over the last three quarters and had our opportunities, but you can't give a good side like Locky the start we did."
The best for the Grasshoppers were led by half-back Ben Southam for the second game in a row, along with Hugh McMurtrie in defence, Lachlan Ezard and wingman Alex Van Ruiswyk.
* Mount Pleasant had the better of White Hills in the second of the Good Friday matches under lights at Scott Street.
The Blues opened their account for 2019 with a 50-point victory over White Hills, who given the hype generated by their recruiting have made a bitterly disappointing start to 2019.
The Blues prevailed 18.14 (122) to 11.6 (72), handing the Demons their second hefty loss at home in as many outings.
The Demons were unable to curtail the dominance of Blues' forward Ben Weightman, who slotted eight goals and was his side's best player.
White Hills named Dane Spear its best player.
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