Dungog Warriors exploded out of the blocks in their first game in B-grade since 2012, running in 26 unanswered points in the opening 25 minutes against Maitland United.
As a spectacle that was pretty much as good as it got with the next 55 minutes a slog with the Warriors adding another try and United pegging back two for a 32-12 victory for Dungog.
But with two points in the bag and a win in milestone games for Jake Clifton (150th) and Jackson Bell (100th) there were plenty of reasons to celebrate.
Playing for the first time at the new McKeachies sporting complex, Dungog settled best after moving up a grade after a strong month of football in C grade.
Matt Hinton and Jeremy Long had several strong carries in the opening exchanges to lay a great platform for the rest of the team. Jordan Bartlett was again the first over the try line when he was the benefactor of a large overlap, scoring an unconverted try out wide.
Making plenty of metres Dungog was straight back on the attack. With his first touch in six months Bell ran a lovely line to score from 15m out and celebrate his milestone. With Jeremy Fredricks converting, the Warriors were up 10-nil.
Through some great support play, the relentless attack was pressing United’s line once more and tireless worker Cody Warwick proved too strong to score under the sticks and Dungog lead 16-0 after 15 minutes.
After some United ill-discipline, they found themselves unable to defend their line and Kieran Hinton powered over scoring his first try in the maroon and gold, in three years. Seemingly racing the game clock Dungog were 20-nil after 20 minutes.
Still on an incredible roll, and not be out done his brother, Mat Hinton backed up Tim Harlow well scoring next to the left upright. Fredricks converting for a 26 to nil score line after 25 minutes.
In a tale of two halves Dungog played some of their worst footy in 2017.
Treating the football with no respect and giving away soft penalties, Dungog allowed Maitland United back into the game with two converted tries.
United’s momentum was finally broken when Trai Brekelmans dived over out wide to score the only try for Dungog in the second half with Jeremy converting to ensure the 32-12 win.
Dungog showed they will be more than competitive in this competition if they can hold onto the ball,
However, they also saw what will happen if they don’t, losing the second half 12-6.
Facing fellow promoted team Kearsely Crushers this week, the Warriors will need to start as they did on Saturday, however, make it an 80-minute effort.
The Crushers will be smarting after losing 42-10 to former D-grade team Kotara and will be looking to end a two-game losing run.
Awards for the day went to, best forward Cody Warwick, best back Jeremy Fredricks, players’ player Jeremy Fredricks and Ray’s reserve Harry Boorer.
It was also pleasing to see the returns of Tim Harlow his first game in 2017 and Chris Evans for his first in two years. Zach Green had a strong debut of the bench with a really tough game.
Sunday’s games against the Crushers at Bennett Park starts at 2.30pm. They Warriors host Dudley the following Saturday.