The Saints got their season off to the perfect start on Saturday with a comprehensive 62-point victory over Mooroopna.
The Saints travelled to last year’s wooden spoon holders’ home ground for the season opener, unsure of what Cats side they would face, as the home side made 13 recruits in the off season.
Before the match, Saints head coach Luke Morgan said the only acceptable start to the season was a convincing win and that is exactly what his side produced.
The game was in the balance in the first quarter as Benalla squandered good positions on goal, meaning the score was 2.6.18 to 2.2.12 to the away side at the first break.
From there the Saints settled into their work, with new recruit Jarrod Bannister kicking seven vital goals.
Others like Brody Webster, co-captain Jordan Wolff, and Morgan stepped up to provide good scoring opportunities for the forwards.
The game’s final quarter saw the Saints pile on seven goals and four behinds, while the Cats kicked two goals. The final score saw Benalla 18.14.122 defeat Mooroopna 9.6.60.
Saint Aaron Blackburn suffered a heavy knock in the final quarter, but Morgan said he will not be sidelined for this weekend’s clash with Echuca, so long as he is fine in training.
Morgan said the side would be looking to improve their game this weekend against ‘‘a good Echuca side’’, which would be looking to bounce back after a first-round loss.
‘‘They (Echuca) just missed finals last year and they managed to beat us in the game we played last year,’’ Morgan said.
‘‘All we can do is bring our best game against them. And it’s our home ground, so we love playing there.’’
The Saints will look to go two from two when they face 10th-placed Echuca at the Benalla Showgrounds at 2pm on Saturday.
Meanwhile, in the reserves grade, the Saints were outclassed by a far superior Mooroopna side.
Corry Westbury was the only Saint to register a goal, as the home side ran out to a 118-8 victory.
Mooroopna 16.22.118 defeated Benalla 1.2.8.
Saturday's three talking points:
1: Blackburn down, but not out: Aaron Blackburn received medical attention after a heavy hit from Mooroopna forward Kayne Boyer and was down for a long time in the final quarter. Hopefully he can return to the field for this weekend’s action.
2: Boy who cried Wolff: Saints co-captain Jordan Wolff really stood up and led from the front to make an impact in the forward line. A great start to the season for Wolff and his side.
3: Slow to start, fast to finish: The Saints looked sluggish in the opening quarter of the season, leading by just four points, but increased the tempo and pressure to run out comfortable victors in the end.
Benalla 2.6, 7.9, 11.10, 18.14 (122) d Mooroopna 2.2, 4.3, 7.6, 9.6 (60)
Best Benalla: Brody Webster, Thomas Bennett, Jarrod Bannister, Jordan Wolff, Lachlan Thompson, Marcus O’Brien
Mooroopna: Lachlan Devine, Clint Riley, Ryan Devine, Dean Smith, Trent Freer, Jonathan Odgers.
Goals Benalla: Jarrod Bannister 7, Lachlan Thompson 4, Marcus O’Brien 2, Jordan Wolff 2, Zachary Pallpratt 2, Jack Spinks 1.
Mooroopna: Romain Grenville 2, Thomas Crosbie 2, Dean Smith 1, Kallyun Sanders 1, Nathan Turner 1, Kane Boyer 1, Benjamin Hicks 1.