With former Norwood premiership player Dean Terlich taking charge for the first time, the Black and White machine had an emphatic 87-point win over last year's finalist South Gawler at Tanunda Oval in round one of the 2018 Barossa, Light and Gawler football season.
Already 32 points up at quarter time, after a seven-goal to two opening stanza, the Magpies kicked a further nine goals straight in the second quarter, which gave them a 79-point advantage at the long interval.
The Lions showed a bit of ticker in the third term but it was too little too late, with Tanunda kicking another six majors in the final quarter.
The final score was the Magpies 23.10 (148) defeating South 9.7 (61).
Terlich said much of the pre-season focus had been on the offensive side of the Tanunda structure, so to achieve a 16-goal first half was quite satisfying.
“South Gawler were strong the contested ball early and actually kicked the first two goals of the game,” Terlich said.
“I was happy with our midfield group and they were aggressive around the stoppages.
“Our backline also stood up very well.
“I really enjoyed my first hit out; it was true old-style hard country football.”
Magpies midfield recruit Riley McFarlane was regarded high among the Magpies best as was ruckman Angus Kurtze and full forward Josh Trembath who kicks seven goals.
Other significant performers included Leigh Westhoff on his wing, Nathan Peterson-Gray through the midfield, and the coach himself, Terlich, who was cool and composed all game.
Luke Snowden in defence, along with fellow backmen, veteran “AJ” Prior and his younger brother Matthew, who returned from SANFL football, controlled the contest repelled many attacks
Tom Schiller, who has had more encores that Dame Nellie Melba, was productive and attempted mark of the year in the final term.
Kurtze also pushed forward and kicked four goals, while Matt Westhoff chimed in with three.
Matt Neumann was South’s best, and kicked three goals.
He was followed by hard working defender Dylan Schwerdt, who battled manfully, while Brodie Hudson and Jacob Pearson had their moments. Playing coach Chad O’Sullivan chimed in with two goals.
Willaston v Gawler Central
Willaston starts its 2018 campaign with a 70-point win over Gawler Central which was achieved on the back of an 11-goal third quarter blitzkrieg.
The Donnybrooks lead by nine points at half-time after both teams kicked six goals in the second term by playing open, attacking football.
But the dam broke in the third and in the end kicking 23.12 (150) to 12.8 (80), Willaston had 15 more scoring shots than its opponents.
Michael Howson, who kicked eight second half goals (five in the third) to finish with nine for the game, was the Donnybrook best followed by on-ball options - captain Sam Walton, left-footed Southern Saints recruit Clinton Voight, and evergreen veteran Sean Baker. Stuart Ferenci dominated the big man contests and Shaun Childs was outstanding in defence, while recruits Michael Clinch and Josh Waldhuter both show their experience and class.
Voigt finished with three goals while Scott White, Brandon Coombs and Waldhuter each kicked two.
Former Barracker Rookie of the Year Andrew Wright was clearly Gawler Central’s best player and kicked a team-high three goals.
Corey Solly was the next cab off the rank followed by young Jake Billing, and second-year players Jamie Wegener, Ash Johnson and Josh Edwards. Willaston coach Mal Greenwood emphasised the first half of the contest was quite poor by their standards as Gawler Central’s pressure was good early.
“We had a purple patch in the third quarter which broke the game open,” Greenwood said.
“It's fair to say in the first half we only played 15 or so minutes of good football.
“We still have a handful of players to come into the side including Ash Fry and Tyson Irlam.
Barossa District v Freeling
Reigning premiers Barossa District started the season at Williamstown Oval with a comfortable five-goal win over Freeling, 16.10 (106) to 11.10 (76).
This was set up by a Michael Bratton masterclass in the first half while Ben Geytenbeek was sent to him in the second half, but his brilliant work gave the Bulldogs a commanding 37-point first half advantage.
Playing coach Todd Miles said Freeling are not a bad side and played better football in the second half.
“Scott Dutschke used Adam Cockshell in the forward line after half time and Geytenbeek tagged ‘Brats’ as well in the second half, but he was still effective,” Miles said.
“Michael (Bratton) must have had 20 touches to half-time.
“It was a solid first up performance and there is still plenty to build on.
“Nathan Emes who hasn't played football since 2016 was best on ground in our seconds and we still have Michael Baraglia and Darren Shillabeer to come back into the group.”
Along with Bratton, who was best on ground on the back of his first half performance, Ben Cummings and Michael “Scrubber” Taylor were impressive.
Nathan Casboult gave run out of defence, while the four-time premiership player Matthew Stelzer and Russell Clark also where significant contributors.
Both Alan Obst and Bratton kick three goals each while Matthew Stelzer, Ashley Barnett in his first game in the red white and blue and Jack Shurmanns each kicked two goals.
The Redlegs were well served by ruckman Adam Cockshell, Todd Williams and teenage talent Dylan Whimpress across half back.
Geytenbeek deserves a mention for a second half effort on Bratton and clubman Lachlan Heinrich had his moments.
In his first game in Freeling colours Adrian Wilson, a former SANFL and VFL footballer, and the son of Bulldogs great and Gawler Central/Tanunda premiership player/coach Wilbur, kicked four goals while Cockshell finished with three and Brady Scott kicked a brace.
Kapunda v Nuriootpa Rovers
A Joey Brown goal in the final minute of the game helped Kapunda secure a brilliant five-point victory over Nuriootpa at Dutton Park. In his first game, Kapunda Bombers mentor David Leslie said the game was close all day.
“We got to about four goals ahead early in the second term but Nuriootpa controlled the rest of that quarter,” Leslie said.
“Sam Gordon kicked five goals to half-time but injured his quad early in the third quarter.
“In the final quarter we were kicking towards town end and against the breeze, which adds to the strength of our victory.
“After Joey kicked that goal with about a minute to go we push players behind the ball and held on for the win.”
Kapunda won 15.11 (101) to 14.12 (96).
Undersized ruckman Adam Tyrell was best on ground giving his midfielders first use, while in his first game for the club, Port Districts recruit Brad Prior won a lot of contested ball.
On the outside Joseph Brown and Mark Cussadia gave the Bombers plenty of run while Brad Williams and Adam Jolly also had a significant impact.
Creative forward Justin Zanandrea snaffled four goals for the victors while Brown, Jolly and Wes Farley each finished with a pair.
Gordon was amongst the best players despite missing nearly a half of football.
The Rovers best was Tim Dimasi followed by young Beau Shinnick and Aalon Hall, while Shane Dearlove and fellow tall Nick Lange kicked five goals between them. – Peter Argent