Kyabram showed no signs it will be slowing down this season on Saturday night, effortlessly dismissing Mooroopna by 113 points at Mooroopna Recreation Reserve.
Outside the first 15 minutes, when the Cats pounced on the sleep-walking Bombers with the first two goals, it was vintage Kyabram, as defensively solid and potent moving forward as ever.
The twin talents up forward — Kayne Pettifer and Kyle Mueller — found 12 goals between them, five of Pettifer’s coming in junk time as the Bombers ran up the score and added to Mooroopna’s misery.
Bombers coach Paul Newman said once his outfit had seen off the Cats’ early heat, it was smooth sailing.
‘‘They were really good early, their pressure around the ball was good and put us under pressure,’’ Newman said.
‘‘After 10 minutes we started settling into the contest a bit, started to gain some ascendancy and I thought the way we finished off the game was really pleasing.’’
Bayden Fallon kicked the first two of the game for Mooroopna, first from a high tackle inside 50 and next after a silly 50m penalty brought him within range.
But the Bombers did lift, winning the contests across the ground and matching the Mooroopna pressure to have the scores levelled at quarter-time.
And from there it was a procession as the Bomber forwards — particularly Mueller, Brad Mangan and Pettifer — began to find space and benefit from the scintillating delivery.
‘‘We were just bombing it way, and we spoke about it at quarter-time, just lowering the eyes and being a bit smarter with the ball,’’ Newman said.
‘‘Early, it reflected the pressure they were putting on us, as the game went on we got better and used our opportunities.’’
Mooroopna continued to resist as much as it could, but Kyabram’s usual suspects — Jordan Williams and Liam Ogden — took over and helped ease the side to a 64-point lead at the final change.
And it was another familiar face in Pettifer who lit up the final term, backing up a high-flying mark of the year contender in the third term with five goals in the last, blowing the margin right out to 113 points.
Last year’s GVL rising star Brad Whitford made a big statement after being left out of the senior grand final side last season, racking up touches in the midfield and helping himself to four goals.
Mooroopna coach Dale Osborne chose to focus on the positives of the display, with signs suggesting the Cats will compete well through the season.
‘‘It was a game of halves; we were really good in the first quarter, excellent even, and I think we showed a fair bit in the second half as well,’’ he said.
‘‘We weren’t out of it at half-time, our contested ball and tackling pressure was fantastic. We laid the most tackles we have in the last three years.
‘‘The second half they blew us out of the water with talent and hard work, and being a younger side there’ll be a bit of inconsistency.’’
Alex Tattersall shone in the ruck for the Cats, with Dean Smith and Jono Odgers impressing around the ground.
Osborne said the quality of Kyabram was what blew the margin out, not a drop in intensity by his side.
‘‘I don’t look at the scoreboard, I look at the things we talk about doing as a group and if we do those things properly, the scoreboard will change,’’ he said.
‘‘Our midfield got ran over in the last quarter, we just ran out of legs and their talented players stood up. We were beaten by a pretty talented side, not by effort.’’
Kyabram was without Lachie Smith, despite Newman’s pre-match expectation he would play, with the VFL-listed gun nursing a minor knee complaint.
Mooroopna’s Matt Deane, tasked with the tough job of marking Pettifer, hurt his shoulder in the second quarter, with Osborne hoping his important defender would be right for round two.