REIGNING premier Tallygaroopna made the loudest statement in the Kyabram District Football League’s season opener on Saturday, disposing of last year’s finalist Dookie United by over 100 points.
Other big winners in the opening round were Murchison-Toolamba, who crushed neighbour Rushworth by 143 points, and new side Shepparton East, who breezed to a 142-point win over Longwood.
But not too much should be read into these results apart from the Tallygaroopna win.
In the closest games of the round Undera edged out Stanhope with a strong last term while anticipated big improver Avenel had to work hard to shake off a persistent Lancaster.
Merrigum again proved Girgarre’s bogey team, running over the home side under lights at Girgarre on Saturday night before a huge crowd.
■Tyson Sidebottom dominated in Tally’s big win with a six-goal, best-on-ground display against Dookie United.
United actually led at quarter time but then Sidebottom, Sam Muggleton, Adam Serafini and Jai Ulger in particular turned up the heat and it was one-way traffic in the last three quarters.
Pat McMullen, Luke Sullivan and Andrew O’Connor tried hard for United but didn’t get much support.
■It was a tight struggle at Stanhope with the visiting Undera side finishing the stronger with a six-goals-to-three last term to snatch a 12-point win.
Reigning McNamara Medallist Kane Herbert was in sparkling early season touch for Undera, who also had telling contibutors in Zac Bryan, Rhys Mckenzie and veteran Danni Heazlwood.
Tom Hepburn tried hard to lift Stanhope with three inspiring goals while the efforts of Daniel Brock, veteran Brenton Gray and Brandon Corish were reasons why the home was in front at the last change.
■Lancaster pushed Avenel all the way in the clash at Avenel, but couldn’t take back the lead they had established in the first term in the last three quarters.
The Ross brothers, James and Nic, were busy and standouts for the Wombats, who were also well served by Zac Cerrone, Nathan Torney and Steve Thomson.
Dean Giles was a standout for the Swans while Braydon Avola and Paul Arandt were impressive for the home side.
■Merrigum took control after quarter time in the game under lights at Girgarre and ran out 55-point winners.
Big man Sean Reidy showed the way for the Bulldogs with a dominant display that featured four goals.
Jacob Chessels, Jack Sinclair and young talent Mason Scopelliti were also prominent in the win.
For Girgarre Luke Whykes, Paul Parsons and Greg Potter gave their all but lacked support, particularly up forward with recruits Ryan Butler and Callum Harding-Davies the only goalkickers on the night for Girgarre.
But it wouldn’t be advisable to write off Girgarre after just one game with some handy players, including a rumoured star newcomer — former Geelong VFL player Billy Barnes — to come into the team.
Girgarre coach Shannon Tucker was coy on the rumour, saying although Barnes was moving to the region for work purposes he was yet to decide if he would play football.
■Murchison-Toolamba brushed aside a disappointing Rushworth in merciless fashion, dominating every quarter on their way to a 143-point win.
James Peck and Adam McGibbon were unstoppable up forward for the combine with 13 goals between them while classy Ashton Cashion and Jack O’Toole were in everything for the winners.
There weren’t too many players who held their own for the Tigers but Joe Thompson, Jordan Hageman, James Rhodes and Wade Brown tried hard to stem the one-way flow.
■New side Shepparton East showed it could be another long season for Longwood with a commanding 23-goal win.
Jeromy Aynsley, Jake Pheiffer and Ben Tautala did what they liked for the winners while Lachy Cox, Nathan Watson and Dylan Gordon battled hard for the losers.
■Violet Town looked sharp in disposing of Ardmona by 189 points in the day’s biggest percentage booster.
Mark McCarthy made his mark on the game with an unstoppable 13-goal haul while Mark Baker and Kevin Kiernan also kept the scoreboard ticking over with 11 goals between them. Nic Abbley was also good for the winners.
Cody Law, Josh Baginski and Fred Maclean tried hard for the Cats but they were simply outclassed.
■There are some interesting games up for decision this Saturday, with Tally hosting Nagambie, Murchison-Toolamba locking horns with Merrigum and Undera taking on Shepparton East.