The Benalla All Blacks made it two wins from two, defeating last year’s flag winners Bonnie Doon.
The Panthers made the journey to Bonnie Doon Recreational Reserve on Good Friday for round two of the WAW Credit Union Cup in the Ovens and King Football League.
By quarter time, the Panthers had a commanding lead of 20 points and had only allowed the home side one point.
They carried on that pressure in the second quarter and led by 27 at the half-time break.
But the Panthers were held scoreless in the third while Bonnie Doon mounted a comeback of 37 points — including six goals — to see the home side in front with a quarter left to play.
Panthers players Ali Jacka and Michael Donehue were among those who scrambled to turn the tide for the away side in the final quarter — the Panthers scoring a further six goals and three behinds, while only conceding one behind to see them clinch the game 7.4.46 to 11.11.77.
Head coach Harry Moran said the comeback showed the kind of fight and spirit he hoped the side could carry on into the next round.
‘‘We told them to stand up and show some courage and they did exactly what was asked of them,’’ Moran said.
‘‘Momentum is a massive thing in footy and we got the first goal, which got the ball rolling, when we got that it was like clockwork and we kept piling them on.
But Moran said it was concerning to see the side roll over and concede so many points after half-time.
‘‘You could say in the first half we thought we had it in control and then they came out after half-time and really gave it to us,’’ he said.
‘‘To their credit they played extremely well, but we gave them a lot of shots in front of goal. They were tackling fiercely and had us intimidated and the pressure became a massive thing.’’
The side mostly escaped injury, bar Chris O’Connor, who Moran said was rushed back after injury ‘‘a little too quickly’’ and could miss this weekend’s match.
The side now sit third on the O and K League table and would be higher but for Tarrawingee and Milawa’s landslide wins over Bright and North Wangaratta respectively.
The Panthers will look to make it three wins on the trot when they take on 11th-placed Bright at Bright Reserve on Saturday at 2.15pm.