KANGAROO Flat is enjoying a rare view from the top of the ladder after Saturday's opening round of the Bendigo Football-Netball League season.
Having long been mired among the bottom rungs of the ladder, the young Roos have made their first 1-0 start to a season since 2014 following a comfortable 71-point win over Maryborough at Dower Park on Saturday.
Set up by a dominant first half in which they led by 43 points at the main break, the Roos prevailed 16.19 (115) to 6.8 (44) in an encouraging start to their 2022 season.
At the Queen Elizabeth Oval, a seven-goal haul from class forward Joel Brett spearheaded Golden Square to a 50-point win over South Bendigo.
The Bulldogs kicked the first seven goals of the game and later the last six goals of the match in their 15.13 (103) to 7.11 (53) victory.
The closest match of the opening round was at Tannery Lane where Strathfieldsaye held off rivals Eaglehawk by 13 points.
The Hawks had been five points up at half-time, but were held goal-less in the third term as the Storm gained the ascendancy on the way to a 12.13 (85) to 10.12 (72) victory at their home ground fortress.
At Gardiner Reserve, Gisborne kicked away from Sandhurst in the final term to win by 26 points.
The Dragons kicked the opening three goals of the game and had been 13 points ahead at half-time.
However, the Bulldogs - missing five players through COVID protocols - booted 7.7 to 1.4 after the main break to win 10.12 (72) to 6.10 (46).
In a blow for the Dragons, the club fears Jed Zimmer has suffered a season-ending knee injury sustained in the second quarter.
And in a game where both senior coaches Paul Chapman (Kyneton) and Don Moran (Castlemaine) were absent due to COVID protocols, Kyneton defeated Castlemaine by 75 points.
Stand-in coach Guy Dickson, Rhys Magin and Ryan Pretty all kicked four goals in the Tigers' 18.15 (123) to 7.6 (48) victory over their country rivals at Camp Reserve.
Strathfieldsaye 12.13 (85)
Eaglehawk 10.12 (72)
GOALS: Strathfieldsaye: L.Sharp 4, J.Schischka 2, J.Wilson 1, J.Formosa 1, R.Clarke 1, H.Lawrence 1, J.Hall 1, B.Slater 1; Eaglehawk: D.Richards 3, L.Davis 2, F.Verhey 1, B.Thompson 1, N.Wheeler 1, B.Evans 1, D.Williams 1.
BEST: Strathfieldsaye: James Schischka, Lachlan Gill, Callum McCarty, Riley Clarke, Baxter Slater, Hunter Lawrence. Eaglehawk: Clayton Holmes, Billy Evans, Noah Wheeler, Kobe Lloyd, Darcy Richards, Dillon Williams.
Kangaroo Flat 16.19 (115)
Maryborough 6.8 (44)
GOALS: Kangaroo Flat: H.Lockhart 3, L.Wilson 3, M.Rovers 2, M.Holt 2, M.Collins 1, S.Barnes 1, L.O'Keefe 1, J.Mayes 1, N.Lang 1, M.Trewhella 1. Maryborough: C.Freeman 3, C.Perry 1, J.Postle 1, B.Neill 1.
BEST: Kangaroo Flat: Nicholas Keogh, Mitch Rovers, Hamish Lockhart, Ryan O'Keefe, Jake Hywood, Darcy Kelly. Maryborough: Kya Lanfranchi, Lachlan Hull, Coby Perry, Chris Freeman, Brady Neill, Thomas Gardam.
Gisborne 10.12 (72)
Sandhurst 6.10 (46)
GOALS: Gisborne: J.Scanlon 3, M.Panuccio 2, E.Foreman 2, M.Merrett 1, L.Ellings 1, N.Doolan 1; Sandhurst: L.Zimmer 2, B.Montague 1, H.Hosking 1, J.Wharton 1, N.Walsh 1.
BEST: Gisborne: Jack Reaper, Frank Schipano, Liam Spear, Jack Scanlon, Jaidyn Owen, Flynn Lakey. Sandhurst: Noah Walsh, Tanner Nally, Hamish Hosking, Liam Ireland, James Mittell, Cooper Smith
Kyneton 18.15 (123)
Castlemaine 7.6 (48)
GOALS: Kyneton: R.Magin 4, G.Dickson 4, R.Pretty 4, N.O'Sullivan 2, J.Orr 1, D.Bartrop 1, H.Sheahan 1, A.Beckerley 1. Castlemaine: B.Henderson 3, T.Horne 2, L.Wilkinson 1, J.Watson 1.
BEST: Kyneton: Dean Bartrop, Frazer Driscoll, Hamish Yunghanns, Louis Thompson, James Orr, Rhys Magin. Castlemaine: Bailey Henderson, Liam Wilkinson, Tom Cain, John Watson, Tommy Horne, Kaleb Mcbride.
Golden Square 15.13 (103)
South Bendigo 7.11 (53)
GOALS: Golden Square: J.Brett 7, A.Jenkyn 2, B.Vaz 2, L.Jacques 1, J.Fitzpatrick 1, R.Hartley 1, T.Strauch 1. South Bendigo: B.Harvey 3, B.Torpey 1, K.Antonowicz 1, C.Leon 1, M.Herlihy 1.
BEST: Golden Square: Joel Brett, Terence Reeves, Matthew Compston, Jack Geary, Tom Strauch, Liam Duguid. South Bendigo: Cameron Taggert, Nathan Horbury, Brock Harvey, Cooper Leon, Oscar White, Liam Byrne.
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