HOWLONG bounced back from a tough start to its season to open record a hard-fought 18-point win against CDHBU at Howlong on Saturday.
The Spiders, who lost to Brock-Burrum and Henty in the opening two rounds, won a battle of wills with Albury recruit Josh Dicketts proving the matchwinner.
Dicketts dominated in the ruck and up forward with Azzi medallist Peter Hancock also turning in a strong performance.
Rohan Davies, Steve Fouracre, Joel Price and Beau Walker also played well.
Former St Kilda player Jason Gram kicked two goals in a one-off appearance for the Spiders but struggled to have an impact.
CDHBU runners Joel Rippingale and Nathan Rhodes won plenty of possessions in the midfield, while Corey Smith proved a livewire in attack with four goals.
Lockhart proved too strong for Billabong Crows, winning by 53 points.
The two-pronged attack of John Hoey and Nathan McPherson kicked eight of the Demons’ 17 goals with Josh Maniscalco and Jeremy Alexander ensuring they had plenty of opportunities.
Daniel Smallwood was good against his former team with four majors for the Crows.
Holbrook had the bye.