“NO one would’ve thought we’d be two and two after four games.”
East Warrnambool coach Paul Butters is able to sum up the Bombers’ encouraging start to season 2014 with a handful of words.
The long-time Warrnambool and District league battler took its record to 2-2 after beating Russells Creek by 47 points at Reid Oval on Saturday.
The 18.10 (118) to 11.5 (71) win followed an upset of Deakin University a fortnight earlier and hinted at bigger things for the red-and-black army.
“It was a good effort by the lads today. To be two and two when not many people gave us a chance of doing much this season is good,” Butters said.
The Bombers were rarely troubled after kicking 6.4 to 3.0 to open the match, one of their best first-quarter returns in years.
They extended their lead to 47 by half-time and 69 by three-quarter-time before Russells Creek kicked five goals to one to close the contest.
Returned Bomber Ben Gray booted a match-high eight goals and was a clear best-afield, while Tyronne Grayson finished with three.
Captain Chris Edwards, ruckman Jordan Collins and key position player Jonathon Malone were also among the best.
Butters said he had much confidence in the side he had assembled but said the players had to start believing they could compete against any side in the league.
“It doesn’t matter who we play, if we come and play our best and focus on playing for each other we’re going to give a good account each week,” he said.
He played up the influence of Gray, who started the season as a key defender but has influenced both of the Bombers’ wins up forward.
“The first game he played on Chris Keilar and did a pretty good job down back and he can run through the midfield,” he said.
“With our even spread in the back line at the moment, we want to try and boost our firepower up forward. We tried him up forward and it’s worked.”
Russells Creek coach Jay Everall said the loss was “a marked improvement” on a 245-point hammering at the hands of Merrivale the previous weekend.
But Everall was downcast about the Kangaroos’ endeavour compared with their opening fortnight.
Captain Marcus Askew kicked six goals playing as a deep forward and Justin Harzmeyer also won plaudits for his run-with role on Blake Rudland-Castles.
They were the best of too few contributors for the Kangaroos, although teenager Brad Hunt caught the eye after coming on as a substitute.
Hunt replaced Ben Jansen, whose first match of the season ended at half-time after he suffered a corked thigh midway through the first term.
“The trouble we had today was we didn’t have 22 contributors. We’re a team that needs everyone pressing hard and making every contest a contest,” Everall said.
“Unfortunately we took too long to get that mindset. We had too few trying to do too much. As funny as it may sound, we were able to do that earlier in the season.”
In other matches, Jono Nevill, Alex Pye and Chris Keilar led Dennington to a 19.16 (130) to 5.8 (38) win against South Rovers at Dennington Recreation Reserve.
The Dogs led by 40 points at half-time and kicked nine goals to one after the long break. Pye kicked six goals and Keilar five, while Nevill was best afield.
Lucas Wilson was a lone hand up forward for the Lions, finishing with three goals. Liam Sheppard was the visitors’ best.