WARRNAMBOOL started its premiership defence with an 86-point belting of South Warrnambool at Reid Oval yesterday.
Blues captain Jason Rowan finished with 10 goals in the 16.19 (115) to 4.5 (29) win, with the six-time Hampden league leading goalkicker making the early run for another crown.
Warrnambool effectively killed the game as a contest by quarter-time, having built a commanding 44-point lead.
The Blues’ trademark skill and forward potency coupled with the Roosters’ poor disposal efficiency meant there was little chance of a South Warrnambool fight back.
The Roosters were restricted to one goal in the opening three terms before clever recruit Robbie Gregg and teenager Paddy Anderson combined for three goals in the fourth quarter.
Warrnambool coach Scott Carter was content with the Blues’ strong start to the season.
“To be honest we came in with a few blokes a little bit underdone and that’s just through circumstances,” he said. “We are definitely going to be better for the run, no doubt about that.
“Rowy has had probably his biggest pre-season for five or six years.
“He is in the best physical condition he’s been in for a long time. He’s injury-free and his confidence is up and he’s moving well.”
South Warrnambool coach Matt Monk lamented the Roosters’ poor skill level.
“Our skills were horrendous, really bad, and obviously we have to go back to the drawing board about hitting targets,” he said.
“In front of the social rooms I reckon we kicked it out on the full four times. We kicked into Jason Rowan once from full-back.
“I can remember 20 stop plays, which is the easiest kick with no pressure to hit a target, and we missed those as well.”
Monk said defenders Scott Maddern and Jayden Askew were competitive and Sam Kelly held his own and willed himself into the contest.
The Blues lost ruckman Rob Bright to a hamstring strain and Roosters teenager Jock Blair suffered a serious leg injury.