Those hoping for close encounters would have left the second round of the Steeline Bendigo Bank Limestone Coast Football Association Premiership Cup Senior Men’s season disappointed.
It was goals galore as the three big teams all flexed their muscles and bossed their respective opponents.
Incredibly the closest game was between Naracoorte and Apollo where the latter had no issues winning 5-0.
After a pair of draws in 2021 and the yellow and black prevailed when the pair clashed in the recent preseason carnival, many anticipated their first battle of the main event in 2022 to be a thrilling affair as James Stephenson’s men embarked on the two-hour road trip.
But the boys from Webb Street blew their previous demons against their “bogey side” to start their campaign in a big way.
The result dampened the spirits of the home team which completed its big unveiling of the new clubrooms and second pitch.
However, the Senior Men’s team struggled to match the high standard set by Apollo, which was on a mission after letting a golden opportunity to score a rare win over Inter slip in the opening round.
The visitors were also boosted by the returns of Tobbei Kennett and Hayden Cutting, who brought a touch of class and immediately lifted the work rate with their professionalism.
Sah Wah and Reuben van Eyk got the ball rolling with a goal each before Sharnay stole the show.
Sharnay was in all the right positions and found holes in the Naracoorte defence with ease to score a well-deserved hat-trick.
It completed a 5-0 statement from Apollo and Stephenson said he was impressed with how the team backed itself following the disappointment of the opening round.
“It was always going to be a tough game because Naracoorte have been our bogey side for a few years now, so I was pleased with the way we controlled the game from start to finish,” he said.
“We wanted to continue our passing game and combination play from last week and I was proud to see the boys had a positive mindset.
“Our forwards linked up well and were all a handful for Naracoorte and Pah Lah bossed the midfield.”
High hopes surrounded Blue Lake after its promising preseason carnival, but the side received a tough reminder of how difficult it is to bridge the gap to the best.
There was a buzz around Casadio Park where International unveiled its new state-of-the-art clubrooms overlooking both pitches.
But more importantly there were also heavy hearts as a memorial to former Inter and Blue Lake stalwart Lewis Ferguson was conducted for Inter’s Anzac round.
Inter stamped its authority on the contest early and by the 19th minute its dominance was reflected on the scoreboard.
A long-range strike Sam Bueti found the back of the net and sent Inter into the lead.
The home side did not look back and dominated possession for the remainder of the half.
In that time International found the goals three more times to rub salt into Blue Lake’s deep wounds.
Bueti was everywhere and helped his cousin Matthew open his account for the day, while Nick Morony and debutant Sar Hay Moo also scored to effectively wrap up the game before half time.
With a 4-0 lead, Inter entered the second half with all the confidence in the world and they did not relent one bit.
The Blue Lake defence was placed under intense pressure throughout the afternoon and it proved too much for some when was handed a red card when he misjudged a kicking attempt.
With only 10 men on the field the Rangers did their best fighting for possession, but could not stop the hosts from cruising to a comprehensive triumph.
Matthew Bueti was the star of the second half and completed a second successive hat-trick with the help of the fresh Caleb
Sam Bueti remained a positive influence and went on to not only complete his own double, but also help Moo find the goals again as Inter eased to an 8-0 win.
For his three goals Matt Bueti received the Anzac Day Medal.
The battle for supremacy at McLaughlin Park was even more one sided after Gambier Centrals continued its crushing start to its title defence.
Despite the absence of injured coach Brodey Koop and key player Craig Wright, the Lions were unstippable controlling the ball in all corners of the pitch.
Youngster Mickey Richardson showed no fear with a big performance on the wing and impressed during some long runs to create countless scoring opportunities.
Many of these were welcomed with open arms as Centrals bombarded the goals and the scorers could not keep up.
Jake Blackwell, Mitch Manser, Joel Childs, Christian Fleetwood and Lewis March all scored to establish the side’s dominance, but they were not the biggest stars.
Cam Saint in his return game had a field day scoring five goals, while Sam Shoemark also got plenty of practice finding the back of the net four times.
At the end of 90 chaotic minutes, Centrals walked off the pitch on a high after a 14-0 win leaving an undermanned Millicent worse for wear.