Benalla All Blacks are on track to topple their best table position in almost a decade after another thrilling win at the Friendlies Oval.
The Panthers thrashed King Valley 22.15.147 to 4.5.29 on Saturday afternoon, seeing them go joint top on points with Tarrawingee and Goorambat.
It is the Panthers’ best start to a season in five years; the last time the side won more than four in a row at the start of a season was in 2011 when the Panthers went on a 13-game unbeaten run.
Head coach Harry Moran made two changes to the side that defeated Bright the previous weekend, and the game got under way with the Panthers looking the stronger side from the outset.
By quarter-time the Panthers had a 35-point lead, and had held the Valley scoreless.
A heavy knock to Jackson Hourigan in the fourth quarter saw play halted for some time. When play re-commenced the All Blacks controlled the game until the siren.
It was later found that Hourigan had broken ribs, while fellow first team player Nick Spencer suffered a concussion, ruling both out of this weekend’s top-of-the-table clash with Glenrowan.
Second team player Morgan White is also looking at a lengthy time on the sidelines after re-injuring his collarbone, which he had recently had surgery on.
Moran said the side ‘‘broke the camel’s back’’ in the first quarter, and it was all downhill from there.
‘‘For them to come back from 40 down after the first quarter is tough, so it was important we hit them hard so early.
‘‘We are on a good run, but we haven’t beaten anyone of significance,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s our goal to get 5-0 before the interleague.
‘‘This confidence and energy will be needed next week against last year’s premiers Glenrowan.’’
Meanwhile in the reserves’ match the Panthers scored 16.10.106 to defeat King Valley 6.5.41.
The reserves were imposing in front of delighted fans and posted a decisive win over King Valley with consistent and high quality movement of the ball across the ground.
Trent Chapman was brilliant up forward kicking nine goals and Chris McNair slotted four.