The Deniliquin Rovers made a round-one statement, knocking off Picola District Football League powerhouse Strathmerton by a goal.
A new-look Rovers line-up delivered on its potential, leading at every change to beat the side that has been to the past five north-west grand finals.
Heavy off-season recruiting increased expectations for the Roos and they led by six, seven and eight points at the three breaks before running out winners with a goal in the late stages, 14.8 (92) to 13.8 (86).
Meanwhile, Jerilderie made a winning start to the season, but it did not come easily against a far more competitive Yarroweyah side than in previous years.
The Demons led at every break, but never had the game won, with the Hoppers within 15 points when the final siren blew.
It was a balanced performance from the Demons, who are looking to build on a 4-12 season, with 11 individual goalkickers.
For Yarroweyah, coach Andrew Jones came through with six goals in a dominant display up forward.
Any signs of a slip in form from reigning north-west premier Picola United were non-existent as the Blues again pulverised Mathoura.
It was always likely to be a difficult task for the new-look Timbercutters under co-coaches Jack Keogh and Darcy Robinson, with any pre-season enthusiasm quickly squashed as they failed to score before three-quarter-time.
They would find one goal in the last, but it was only after Picola had piled on another 5.9, running out 138-point winners.
And in Waaia, new Bombers coach Matt Brown wasted little time making an impact as the club’s leader.
The power forward helped himself to five big ones as his side crushed Katamatite by 101 points.
It was a business-like display from Waaia, 40 points ahead at quarter-time with the gap only widening from there.
The Tigers played a strong third quarter and their effort kept them in the contest, but they fell away late as the Bombers put home another seven goals in the last term.
New Bomber Dylan Cornick impressed with three goals, with Greg Meyland also kicking three.
Jesse Trower, Matt Smyth and Ash Thompson were among Waaia’s best.
For Katamatite, it was a disappointing result even against a side expected to challenge for the premiership this year.
Tom Buzza starred in his first game since joining from Numurkah and Aram Aldridge was impressive up forward with three goals.