PORTLAND knows its destination and is plotting a path to get there.
The Tigers' maiden final series was snatched away when state-wide coronavirus lockdowns forced a premature end to the Hampden league season last year.
It has added fuel to the fire and was evident in their 34-point round one defeat of Warrnambool - playing at its newly-redeveloped Reid Oval for the first time - on Saturday.
The run-and-dash they pride themselves was on display as was a hunger for the contest.
They led from start to finish, always finding another gear when Warrnambool - tipped to jostle it for a spot in the top-five come season's end - challenged.
Proud coach Jarrod Holt said the 14.17 (101) to 10.7 (67) win was a confidence booster.
"I thought it was going to be a 50-50 game and I thought if we could outwork them and outrun them it would be our best opportunity," he said.
"We did that right from the start."
Holt implored the Tigers - up 30 points at the last change courtesy of a Marcus Curtis goal after the siren - to take the game on, the team's modus operandi, rather than try and protect the lead.
The players followed his directions with Daniel Jackson hitting the scoreboard early.
Former coach Tom Sharp was a handful up forward, finishing with five goals for the Tigers.
Two players - Paul Proctor in defence and wingman Jack Walsh - also impressed Holt.
"Paul played on (Jason) Rowan and came from (South West District league club) Westerns and played last year for us and started in the reserves," he said.
"He played some good senior games last year too and this year he's committed himself more to training.
"It's a pretty tough gig for him (on Rowan) and I know the way Warrnambool play he'd get a lot of one-on-ones against him.
"I thought when he had half a chance to contest he did really well."
Warrnambool coach Ben Parkinson lamented poor execution, saying it proved costly going into attack.
"I think we stood back a little bit early and we've spoken about not having too many go for the ball and we didn't have anyone go for the ball at some stages," he said.
"Our intent after the first 10 or 15 minutes was OK but we butchered the ball coming out of our defensive 50.
"We had enough of the footy but gave it back. There's definitely things to work on; it's not the end of the world."
Parkinson said Damien McCorkell, in his return game for the club, was important in the midfield and was also rapt with Gus Lowe's efforts in the backline and Sam Cowling's movement in attack.
Warrnambool defenders Jordy Foott (hamstring) and James Chittick (winded/concussion) were hurt while Luke Cody rolled an ankle but played the game out.
Play was stopped momentarily in the second quarter when Chittick was injured in a collision on the Blues' defensive 50.
He was slow to get to his feet, telling Parkinson and the coaching panel he felt winded.
He played on and was rested in the fourth term.
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