By SHELDON NOUCHY
IN a hard-fought game, North Albany showed why they’re the reigning premiers, booting five unanswered last quarter goals to claim a 38-point victory over Denmark-Walpole.
Before the first bounce both teams lined up in the centre of Collingwood Park to pay their respects to Denmark-Walpole life member Phil Middleton who passed away earlier in the week.
As the game got under way and both sides applied immense pressure they both struggled to gain the advantage over the other, but Denmark-Walpole kicked the first six pointer of the game.
This would start a fairly quick succession of goals at either end as the first quarter ended.
Trailing by just one goal at the start of the second quarter the Magpies withstood some early pressure to kick the first two goals and take a narrow lead.
North Albany had plenty of the ball and chances but inaccuracy would see them trail by four points as the half-time siren sounded.
As they had done all day Denmark-Walpole kept the pressure on the home side in the third quarter despite being out-scored, 3.2 to 2.1.
This pressure would see the side go into the third quarter break just three points down.
The main message at the last change from coach Craig Drew was just two words “work rate”.
The players would respond, kicking eight goals, seven to just two behinds to register their first win of the season, 13.16 (94) – 8.8 (56).
Last year’s grand final Best on Ground Jack Mcphee showed he hadn’t lost any form over the off-season by allowing key Magpie Shayne Zanetti to have minimal effect on the game.
Goalscorers Luke Chambers and Nicholas Barrow along with Matthew Orzel were the other top performers for the Kangas.
Jak Phillips was the Best on Ground for the visitors along with Tyler Stone who kicked three goals.
Former Railways’ player Paris Ropiha kicked two to also be in the Magpies best.
In Saturday’s game at Sounness Park, Mt Barker showed they mean business this season with a 172 point win over Albany, 30.24 (204) – 5.2 (32).
Kym Monteath was the leading goal-kicker with 11 goals and Daniel Parker booted nine.
Royals played their first home game at Centennial Stadium against Railways on Sunday. The Lions had a big 10-goal second-half and came away with a 45-point win, 14.13 (97) – 8.4 (52). Royals’ player Taylor Powell kicked three majors.
Round three will see the two undefeated sides – Royals and Mt Barker – face off at Centennial Stadium and Denmark-Walpole will host Railways on Saturday.
On Sunda the Albany vs North Albany derby at Centennial Stadium will be played.