BY JARRAD GARDNER. (PHOTO: Nathan William Media).
The Roosters won every quarter on the way to a 21.13 (139) to 8.13 (61) victory at Hurstbridge’s Ben Frilay Oval.
Lakeside coach Rob Maiorana lauded his side’s efforts during the match, as well as in the lead up to round one.
“We were certainly worried about Hurstbridge. They’ve recruited well over the off-season and that’s off the back of some really good development last year in their first year in division one,” Maiorana said.
“So we didn’t take them lightly and we planned and prepared well. I was just really pleased with our guys and the effort they put in over four quarters.”
Luke Lirosi was named best afield, alongside Carl Adams for his role as a mobile ruckman and Jackson Clarke for his defensive work on the Cloke brothers.
2017 division one leading goal kicker Ahmed Saad began his year where he left off, booting four majors, along with Liam McVeigh. Joshua Novelli, Patrick Karnezis and Tadd all chipped in with two.
Tom Grimes was gallant in defence for the home side, holding Ahmed Saad to just one goal in the first three quarters, while Troy and Trent Barbero fought hard all afternoon.
Travis Cloke impressed in his debut, pushing up the ground and creating a contest for the Bridges.
He and brother Cameron were the only multiple goal scorers for the beaten side, booting two goals apiece in a tough day for key forwards.
The Cloke brothers threatened to put on a show early in their Hurstbridge debuts, with Travis out-muscling his opponent and marking in the goal square to kick his first, while also assisting his brother for two early goals.
However, late goals to Novelli and Tadd put the visitors ahead by seven points at the first change.
The Roosters midfield was able to get on top early in the second term and deny Hurstbridge entries inside 50, something Maiorana highlighted post-match.
“One way to minimise the impact of the Clokes is to deny them the ball and get the ball going our way,” he said.
“The heat on the footy and the way the midfield were able to impact the contest was enormous.”
A dominant eight-minute patch midway through the second term saw the Roosters extend their lead to 15 points at the main break.
They came out firing once again after half time, kicking six goals to one in the third quarter, including five in the first 15 opening minutes, to push their lead out to an unassailable 46 points at the final change.
Tom Simpson kicked the first major of the fourth quarter in the hope of inspiring a massive comeback for Hurstbridge, but it was to no avail, as Saad kicked three last-quarter goals to cap the victory.
West Preston-Lakeside host Heidelberg in Round 2, while Hurstbridge travel to Northcote Park with both sides looking to get on the board in 2018.
Hurstbridge 8.13 (61) was defeated by West Preston-Lakeside 21.13 (139)