A six-goal second half saw Lower Plenty open its 2018 campaign with a 28-point win over Thomastown at Montmorency Park.
Trailing by 16 points at the main break, Lower kept the visitors goalless in the second half to run away with a 7.15 (57) to 4.5 (29) win.
Tough conditions greeted the sides for the opening game of the season. A heavy breeze favoring the eastern end played a major part in a see-sawing encounter, which saw the momentum continuously switch in the first three quarters.
With the ground extremely heavy under foot following a heavy downpour, a very sloppy first quarter ensued, with Thomastown having a slight edge over Lower Plenty in the early stages.
Thomastown new recruits Lane Tucker and tall forward Matthew Ferraro were prolific early, setting the tone for the away side in the opening term.
The visitors kicked the opening goal in a dour quarter, however, a late major from Tom Keys enabled the home side to take a two-point lead into quarter time.
After taking a strong mark, Thomastown’s David Folino went back and kicked truly from the set shot for the first goal of the second quarter – helping to kick-start what was the visitors’ best term of the day.
New recruits Salvatore Mamone and Anthony Capeci marked their debuts with majors, Capeci’s being a check side from the boundary to give the visitors plenty of momentum going into half time – leading 26 to 10.
The tide turned after half time when Keys, who spent much of the day in attack, kicked his second goal for the home side to close the gap.
Superb midfield work by youngsters Oliver Wilson and Fraser Delbridge helped set up an unbelievable goal by Ben Patterson, who threaded the eye of the needle with a right foot bender from the boundary to get the margin back within a kick.
A costly turnover from a Thomastown kick-in saw Corey Sleep capitalise, kicking it straight back over the goal umpire’s hat to give Lower Plenty the lead late in the third quarter.
The home side made it four goals for the stanza when Matt Duckworth converted. The goal ensured his team took all the momentum into three-quarter time, leading by 14 points.
Despite still being in touch on the scoreboard, there was no sign of a comeback from Thomastown in the last term.
No side had a genuine ascendancy in general player for the majority of the quarter, with the ball kicked back and forth for most of the term, until a quick pick up and snap from Delbridge signaled party time for the home side.
A pack mark from Lower Plenty skipper Patrick Flynn saw the ruckman go back and kick the sealer give his side a confidence-boosting win in new coach Ben Turner’s first game at the helm.
Lower Plenty will be looking to back-up the result when it makes the short trip to A.K. Lines Reserve to take on Watsonia in Round 2. Thomastown plays its first home game of the season when it hosts Fitzroy Stars at Main Street Reserve.
Final score: Lower Plenty 7.15 (57) def Thomastown 4.5 (29)