THE Warrandyte Bloods fell in both fixtures in their 2017 season opener, losing to a chipper Chirnside Park outfit at Kimberley Reserve on the weekend.
Both Warrandyte teams were handicapped with injuries, with several players failing to pass their midweek fitness test.
Before play commenced one minute’s silence was observed, in memory of former Chirnside Park player Brian Pedler who died October 2016.
Drew Hollingsworth, father of Reserves player Jake Hollingsworth, was also remembered.
First on the field were the Reserves: they put in a nifty defensive performance to ensure the game remained an arm-wrestle, but inaccurate goal kicking and a difficult breeze allowed Chirnside to take the spoils.
Andre Balemian kicked the first goal of the campaign for the Warrandyte Reserves and the Bloods defence looked steadfast, with Bryce Leeanarts and Drew Corke applying terrific pressure in the back half.
Chirnside made better use of the wind in the second quarter, holding Warrandyte scoreless while tacking on 18 points themselves.
Throughout the second half, returnee Daniel Large looked lively, booting a major and providing a spark down the left-hand side of the ground.
Unfortunately, while the Bloods defence was relatively strong throughout, the forwards struggled to create opportunities.
The Reserves welcome back past favourite Daniel Large, whose performance this weekend was arguably best afield for the Bloods.
Chirnside Park Reserves: 5.10.40
Warrandyte Reserves: 3.9.27
For the Seniors, windy conditions and the Bloods lack of familiarity within a new look outfit played into Chirnside Park’s hands; the Seniors were defeated comfortably after a strong first quarter.
Much like the Reserves, they started the game kicking with the breeze and hit the ground running.
Jason Fitzgerald got the Bloods revved up with an early goal, and new-recruit Ryan Tester looked comfortable off the half back line.
Former Colts player Jake Trewella was exhilarating in his Senior debut and the Bloods rattled off four majors in the first term to lead by 19 points at the first change.
Sadly, this only seemed to kick Chirnside into gear, who were far more dangerous with the breeze.
The backline began to show a few cracks, and Chirnside Park’s big forwards started to assert their dominance.
The home side slammed on nine goals for the quarter to put Warrandyte in disarray, and the Bloods were never able to recover.
Jake Bentley put in a solid shift and Tom Naughtin played a commanding role in defence, but Chirnside never looked like relinquishing control, running out a 74-point winners.
Chirnside Park Seniors: 17.17.119
Warrandyte Seniors: 7.3.45
Warrandyte will now turn their attention towards the first home game of the season after the Easter break on April 22, the first of a series of “themed” home games that will take place over the season.
“Community Day” will promote and acknowledge the support of local businesses, sponsors, and supporters, who will be encouraged to attend.
Complementing this is a ceremony for the opening of the Bendigo Bank Gym.