IT hasn't taken Pat McKenna long to have his first significant impact for Gisborne in his return home from the AFL system, booting eight goals in the Bulldogs' 95-point thrashing of arch-rival Kyneton in the BFNL on Friday.
Already 50 points up at quarter-time, the Bulldogs coasted to a 21.20 (146) to 7.9 (51) Good Friday victory in front of a big crowd at Gardiner Reserve that ended a string of eight-consecutive losses against the Tigers.
"I'm very pleased with the result, particularly with it having been a long time since we beat Kyneton, so it was good we were able to turn the tables," Gisborne coach Clinton Young said.
"We started really well and while there's a lot for us still to work on, I'm really happy for the club to have got a crowd as big as we did and for the club to have performed as well as it did right across the board."
McKenna has rejoined his home club, Gisborne, following four years on the AFL lists of the GWS Giants and Melbourne, with his bag of eight goals more than what the Tigers kicked.
"Patty played really well. His inclusion obviously adds something to our forward line; he's a really smart footballer, took a lot of good marks and kicked really straight," Young said.
"He's a great addition for us, but we also had a really good spread of goalkickers."
As well as McKenna's eight goals the Bulldogs also had Jaidyn Owen (three), Jack Scanlon (three), Brad Bernacki (two), Thomas Wood (two) and Young (two) as multiple goalkickers.
Putting the game away early has been a trait of the Bulldogs in their first two games of the season.
The Bulldogs - who are forced to play the season without reigning best and fairest Jack Reaper (ACL) - led the Tigers 86-23 at half-time, while in their opening game they were up 70-7 against Castlemaine at the main break.
Ruckman Josh Grabham was named best for the Bulldogs.
"Josh was his usual competitive self and his work-rate was fantastic all game," Young said.
"There were a lot of players cramping and fatiguing late, but he just pushed through right until the end."
Forwards Scanlon, McKenna and Port Melbourne-listed Trent Crosbie off half-back and through the midfield also led the better players for the Bulldogs.
The Tigers, who are now 0-2, were best served by star on-baller Rhys Magin, Taylor Kelly and recruit Rhys Smith.
EAGLEHAWK v SOUTH BENDIGO
Eaglehawk unfurled its premiership flag and then set about notching its first victory of the season against South Bendigo at Canterbury Park.
On the rebound from a round one loss to Strathfieldsaye, the Hawks put the foot down after half-time to dispose of the Bloods by 77 points.
The Hawks prevailed 18.17 (125) to 7.6 (48) to extend their winning run on their home ground to 19 in a row.
Eaglehawk held a 26-point advantage at half-time, before busting the game wide open with a seven-goal to one third quarter.
"South is a young side and to their credit they set up pretty well in the way they got numbers behind the footy and were then able to move it well when they got it," Eaglehawk coach Travis Mathieson said.
"It was probably a bit of a case of us sticking to our structures for four quarters that allowed us to pull away from them in the second half."
Key forward Sean Williams was in good touch for the Hawks, kicking six goals - three in each half - while the quartet of Sam Harper, Justin Bateson, Ben Thompson and Jarryd Pertzel chipped in with two apiece in the Hawks' 13th-straight win over the Bloods.
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"We struggled to kick goals last week, so it was a bit of a focus to get the scoreboard ticking over, which we did," Mathieson said
The standout for the Hawks was ruckman Richard Tibbett, who was able to capitalise on the withdrawal of Bloods' big man Callum Crisp to produce a dominant game.
"Tibby was super all around the ground and won a lot of the footy," Mathieson said.
Brodie Collins was his usual in-and-under self to also be among the Hawks' best, while recruit Ryan Gillingham played a solid game across half-back.
"It was a really pleasing response to last week. There's a lot of proud boys among the group and we were able to execute well today to get the result we were after," Mathieson said.
Will Tobin, coach Nathan Horbury and Regan Harvey headed the best for the Bloods, who like the Hawks are 1-1 after two games.
MARYBOROUGH v CASTLEMAINE
Maryborough has its earliest win on the board in a season since 2013 following a 15-point victory over Castlemaine at Princes Park.
Maryborough prevailed 12.7 (79) to 9.10 (64) on a day that was a double celebration for the club after its reserves finally notched a breakthrough victory.
Maryborough's 27-point win in the reserves was its first since round 16 of the 2015 season when it beat South Bendigo by 10 points.
"It was a fantastic day for the club with the reserves having a win as well... the club doesn't know how long it has been since both teams won on the same day," Maryborough coach Ben Lavars said.
"The boys will certainly enjoy the win, but also understand that we've got 16 more games to go."
Maryborough won the game without star recruit Stewart Crameri, who was a late withdrawal due to a groin complaint.
"Stewie was a late out. We were also missing Coby Perry, Jacob Long and Mitch Kennedy, but we had a lot of young players step up and really fight hard," Lavars said.
Jayden Templeton, Lavars, Matt Bilton and Jordan Fraser kicked two goals each for Maryborough.
Exciting forward Templeton was best for the Magpies and earned plenty of praise for Lavars from the pressure he applied, while Jayden Hooper and Lachie Butler both played strong midfield games.
Angus Monfries kicked three of Castlemaine's nine goals and was among his side's better players, along with Matt Filo and Braidon Blake (two goals).
STRATHFIELDSAYE v SANDHURST
The well-drilled Strathfieldsaye restricted Sandhurst to just six goals in a 46-point victory at the QEO.
Hot on the heels of their win over Eaglehawk in round one, the Storm again proved they will be a force to be reckoned with this year with their 12.17 (89) to 6.7 (43) win over the Dragons.
"For only small periods in the first half did we set up the way we wanted to," Sandhurst coach Ash Connick said.
"Our guys got a little bit lost in how we wanted to set up in front of the footy and that gave Strath those uncontested possessions across half-back.
"We rectified that in the third quarter and the guys stuck to what we wanted to do and we played some good footy, but full credit to Strath... they are a good side when you allow them to play the way they want.
"Unfortunately, we just couldn't deny them that for long enough."
The Storm were 35 points up at half-time and in their first two games of the season have conceded just three first-half goals.
Forward Lachlan Sharp kicked his second haul of six goals in as many games to open the season, while Fergus Payne contributed three for a Storm side whose best player was Ben Lester.
Sandhurst went into the game with six changes from the team that defeated Kangaroo Flat the previous week and featured James Mittell and Charlie Robinson in his senior debut.
Among the outs for the Dragons was Lachlan Tardrew, who was a late call-up for Collingwood's VFL team.
Andrew Collins playing forward/midfield, half-back Layton Ross and Zac Pallpratt through the midfield were named the three best for the Dragons. Lachlan Ross and Matt Thornton kicked two goals apiece.
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