Benalla Bulldogs won their first game of the Wangaratta and District Junior Football League season on Saturday, defeating local rivals the Giants.
After overcoming a challenging pre-season, the Bulldogs led at every change to hold off the fast-finishing Giants at Benalla Showgrounds in a thrilling game.
The final score, Bulldogs 6.10 (46) d Giants 4.14 (38).
Nathan Davies and Lachlan Anderson both kicked two goals for the Bulldogs, while Blake Booker, Davies, Anderson, Charlie Bull, Mitch Antonello and Jack Fullager were the best players.
For the Giants, who fought out the game to the end, Lachy Boyle, Will O’Donoghue, Charlie McCarthy, Jasper DeFazio, Deakyn Kohler and Hoby Tonks were great contributors.
After an even first half, Bulldogs were too strong for the Giants in the under-14s.
Leading by a goal at quarter-time and three goals at half-time, the Bulldogs then kept the Giants to just five points for the remainder of the match.
In contrast the Bulldogs added five goals to win by 48 points.
George Lithgow led the way for the Doggies with six goals, while Henry Hill (three goals) and Lucas Hales (two) were dangerous around the goals.
Lithgow, Joe Berry, Sam Begley, Henry Hill, Miller Gilchrist and Ben Reardon were in the engine room for the Dogs.
Cooper Gracie kicked two goals for the Giants, while Tom Binion, Charlie Burfield, Gracie, Bailey Dervish, Tyler McGregor and Sophie Boyle tried hard for four quarters.
Benalla Red and White played out a close match for three quarters, before Red powered away to win by 35 points.
After failing to score in the first quarter, White fought back to lead at half-time by nine points.
With just one point separating the sides at three-quarter time, Red hit its straps kicking four last-quarter goals.
Rory Sammon kicked three goals for Red and along with Kyle Miller, Bryce Cooney, Mitch Cooney, Cooper Binion and Cohen Symes were the Reds’ best players.
For White, Monty MacFarlane enjoyed another great game, kicking goals and defending well across half-back.
Sam Gates, Blake Calvert, Jesse Liddington, Billy Buitenhuis, Oscar Beaton and Brandon Blackford also played great games.
This weekend all sides will have a general bye for Easter.