NORTH Albury young guns Isaac Muller and Mitch Mahady starred as the Murray Bushrangers hung on to record a nail-biting eight-point win over Bendigo on Saturday.
Leading by 41 points at three-quarter-time, the Bushies ran out of puff in the final term as the Pioneers stormed home.
Injury and cramp caught up with the home team in the dying stages, however, the hard work had already been done as the Bushrangers won their opening game of the season.
Coach Darren Ogier conceded his side ran out of gas.
“Without a doubt,” he said.
“We lost a couple of guys to injury — nothing serious — and had blokes spending more time on the ground than we had anticipated.
“But when the game was there to be won, we were super.
“Obviously in your first game it’s a blank canvas, as they say, and you don’t really know what to expect, but we were really good, at times.”
Muller, who joined the Hoppers from Henty over the summer, made a promising debut and gave the Bushies’ midfield first use at the stoppages.
Mahady kicked four goals, while Dan Howe and Finley’s Allister Clarke gave plenty of drive out of the back half.
Yarrawonga’s Brady Pritchard was also impressive.