A red-hot Benalla has scorched Seymour in a Goulburn Valley League round one upset.
The much-hyped Lions were never in the contest at Benalla Showgrounds, five goals down at quarter-time against a Saints line-up out for blood against the side that ended its campaign last year.
And from there the efficient and damaging Saints would not slow down until the game was well and truly theirs, running out 51-point winners.
Benalla coach Luke Morgan could hardly have been more pleased with his side’s first-up display.
‘‘It was a good start, we played some excellent football in the first half and I was really happy with the way we played,’’ Morgan said.
‘‘I was pleased we had players playing their roles and really applying pressure, and we had some swift ball movement.
‘‘We ran out of legs a bit late, but all in all we’re really happy.’’
Seymour seemed unprepared for the round one showdown, goalless in the first and third quarters as the Saints piled on the damage.
By three-quarter time they led by 75 points, with midfield general Sam Martyn leading the way with a blistering display, while Morgan was the beneficiary of his side’s dominance with five goals.
The coach said quality across the board — with a particularly dynamic showing up forward — earned Benalla the points.
‘‘I thought our backs repelled their forwards really well, and the pressure up the field from the forwards and midfielders helped,’’ Morgan said.
‘‘The focus in pre-season was on being a unit (up forward).
‘‘We’ve got a number of guys that can run through the midfield and play forward as well, and while the big target Nick Warnock had a big day we had those guys chipping in too.
‘‘Rather than two or three targets we’ve got eight or nine guys that can be a factor, and when we get 13 goals between them that’s fantastic.’’
Seymour, again well led by Jason Cole with this season’s imports Aiden Adams and Alex Johnston among the top contributors, lacked match fitness according to coach Nick Jewell.
‘‘They were pretty impressive Benalla, but as good as they were we were just as bad,’’ Jewell said.
‘‘It’s going to take a few weeks to jell, a lot of guys it was their first hit-out of the season for varying reasons and it’s the first time we’ve been even close to playing all together.
‘‘We were underdone, and we’re probably a month off where we want to be. We did finish off with seven (goals) in the last, so there’s a bit of a glimmer of hope there.’’
Jake Anderson chipped in with three goals, but it was too little, too late for the Lions as they slumped to a disappointing loss.
‘‘Benalla certainly looked like they ran harder and tackled harder than us, and were better prepared physically,’’ Jewell said.
‘‘They’re certainly a harder unit and they’ve been together a while, and looked really strong.’’