Without setting the world on fire, Tatura confidently claimed victory at Deakin Reserve on Saturday, beating Shepparton United by 42 points.
United earned plenty of chances to hit the scoreboard initially, but disappointingly left the first term 14 points behind given a poor 1.5 return.
And after closing within a point in the second term, the Bulldogs capitalised on United’s lapse, kicking a handful of late goals for a 26-point lead.
Missed opportunities would prove to be the story of the Demons’ day, 7.13 for the game showing they worked hard to create chances, but could not quite convert.
Big Brandyn Grenfell’s six goals were a huge factor and the display kept him second in the league’s goal-kicking race with 27 for the year, trailing Kyabram’s Kayne Pettifer with 46.
Tom Miller was best for the Dogs with Billy Cooper’s line-breaking ability and Liam Borrelli’s continued return to senior football also important.
Tatura coach Jamason Daniels said United had made his team work for it.
‘‘We knew they’d have a crack and where they got going forward was in the midfield,’’ Daniel said.
‘‘They’re really strong there and their contested football is really good.
‘‘Our intensity and pressure lifted, it wasn’t a pretty game, but our intensity had to be better.’’
Daniels said Grenfell’s dominating form was a big part of his side’s strong start to the year.
‘‘He’s unbelievable, he’s just really enjoying his football and his role in the team,’’ he said.
‘‘Him and Aubrey Coote are developing a really good relationship and it just frees him up so much.
‘‘He’s in unbelievable form, he’s one of the best contested marks I’ve seen and for someone so big he’s got the co-ordination of a midfielder.’’
Jack Norman, Matt Di Bella and Shane Neaves were again United’s standout trio.
United coach Stephen Scott was encouraged by his side’s improved fight, especially given it was coming off consecutive triple-figure floggings.
‘‘We had chances early in the first half and particularly the first quarter and we couldn’t snaffle a couple, it just didn’t bounce our way,’’ Scott said.
‘‘We leaked three or four late in the second quarter and in the end that was probably the difference. But we hung in there and competed and for us it was a lot better in terms of effort and intensity.’’
Captain Ben Bingham was a late out for the Demons with a bruised knee, meaning Di Bella captained the side in his 100th senior game.
‘‘He’s a junior who’s come through with us, he broke his foot, but is getting back to his full potential,’’ Scott said.
‘‘He’s got a big engine, he leads by example and he’d wake up pretty sore most Sundays.’’
Young Bulldog Charlie Hill went off in the third quarter with a head knock, while Andrew Ciavarella was kicked in the hand and will get scans this week to assess a potential break.