Jarrod Bannister has continued his stellar introduction to the Goulburn Valley League with his second bag of goals in as many games.
The key forward backed up his seven goals on debut against Mooroopna with nine goals in Saturday’s 27-point home win against Echuca.
In brilliant conditions, Luke Morgan’s men were deadly in front of goal kicking 17.3, remarkably opening the first quarter with six goals straight, before kicking a further 8.2 across the next two terms.
With Sam and James Martyn featuring for the first time this season, the task was always going to be difficult for Andrew Briggs and the Murray Bombers, and it proved to be the case, with the visitors only getting as close as 20 points at three-quarter-time.
The Martyn brothers combined for three goals between them as well as collecting their usual plethora of possessions.
In a battle of the bookends, former Glenelg star Ruory Kirkby kicked four goals for Echuca as he tried to match Bannister.
Reigning Morrison medallist Simon Buckley also stood out as one of Echuca’s best, going head-to-head with the Martyns.
Buckley, who played 47 AFL games, kicked three goals from midfield, but unfortunately it was not enough for Briggs’ men, who find themselves winless after two games.
Saints coach Luke Morgan could not contain his excitement when talking about Bannister’s start to GVL life.
‘‘He has started very well, he kicked another bag on the weekend and we are expecting big things from him this season,’’ Morgan said.
‘‘We have a pretty dynamic forward line, Bannister has kicked two bags in succession, but we believe we are not a one-man forward line, we have a number of people down there who are quick and agile that can cause problems.’’
The Saints could not have started the season any better after two wins on the trot.
‘‘Internally we have big expectations and we know that we are good enough this year,’’ Morgan said.
‘‘We will aim to do our best every week and that will continue against the Shepparton Swans next week.’’
Chris Welsh and Tom O’Brien were ever-present for the Saints, along with Pat Robinson, Tom Bennett and Zach Pallpratt.
‘‘We have an even spread of contributors, the Martyns returned and they were good without being great, Pallpratt played well and Nick Warnock also stood up and kicked two goals,’’ Morgan said.
‘‘I am happy with where we are at, but we still need to continue to improve.’’
Next round the Murray Bombers will be looking to shake the winless tag when they head over to Mooroopna.
Benalla 6.0, 11.2, 14.2, 17.3 (105)
Echuca 2.2, 5.2, 10.6, 12.6 (78)
Benalla: Jarrod Bannister, Chris Welsh, Tom O’Brien, Pat Robinson, Tom Bennett, Zach Pallpratt.
Echuca: Simon Buckley, Kane Morris, Cameron Valentine, Alex McCann, Ruory Kirbky, Tyler Phillips.
Benalla: Jarrod Bannister 9, Nick Warnock 2, James Martyn 2, Patrick Robinson, Sam Martyn, Marcus O’Brien, Chris Welsh.
Echuca: Ruory Kirkby 4, Simon Buckley 3, Tim Allan 2, Nathan Bottomley 1, Lucas Denton, Tyler Phillips.