IT TOOK extra time to separate Diggers Rest and Riddell in last year’s grand final.
But the contrast could not have been starker when the Riddell District Football League clubs faced off again on Saturday to start the new season.
Diggers Rest’s Brad Sluggett couldn’t escape the clutches of Riddell’s Lachlan Henson on Saturday. Picture: Kylie Else
The Burras booted five goals in the opening quarter to grab a 21-point lead and then simply did not yield to the Bombers’ attacks for the rest of the game, conceding just two behinds in the second half to run out 14.13 (97) to 3.3 (21) winners.
“It was definitely a different result,” Diggers Rest coach Shaun Sims said.
“But then both clubs put out fairly different teams to what went out in the grand final last year.”
Riddell’s last major of the day came 10 minutes into the second quarter.
“We kept them goalless after that and that’s always a really good sign that things are going along OK,” Sims said.
“For three quarters we defended extremely well, which was a definite positive with the conditions, too.
“Our ground is quite hard to defend on at times because it is quite small.”
Former Melbourne and West Coast player Cale Morton starred for the Burras, with Matthew Krul also impressing.
Diggers Rest coach Shaun Sims. Picture: Kylie Else
“They were the best two players on the ground,” Sims said.
“Jamie Lobb (three goals), Stuart Clarke and Taylor Hine were all really consistent.”
The coach said his side still had plenty to finetune after the Round 1 fixture.
“This is the youngest team we’ve rolled out in five or six years, which is a positive,” he said.
“We had six guys who made their debuts or first senior games for the club and they acquitted themselves well.
“With the week off, we’ve got the chance to get a fair few players back too.”
Riddell’s Tommy Akelmade is tackled by Diggers Rest’s Corey Wright. Picture: Kylie Else
Sims said Michael Evans hurt his ankle during the game but expects him to be fine within a couple of weeks.
Stephen Treweek, Scott Walsh and Michael Treweek worked hard on a tough day for Riddell.
Elsewhere, Woodend-Hesket survived a fast-finishing Lancefield to prevail 13.9 (87) to 13.4 (82) after the Tigers kicked seven last-quarter goals.
Cameron Arnold, Guy Donovan and Jayden Bullard were the best for the Hawks, while James Wooster, Matt Bowden and Adam Sayers led the way for Lancefield, with Jonathon Kent booting six goals.
Riddell's Scott Walsh tackles Diggers Rest’s Sean Egan. Picture: Kylie Else