IMPRESSIVE, dominant, clinical and emphatic.
Take your pick.
The Ovens and Murray’s record-breaking 125-point thumping of the Hampden league at Wangaratta was as close to perfection as you could get on a country football field.
After leading by just nine points at quarter-time, the O and M booted 26 of the game’s next 34 goals to blow Hampden out of the water.
It was stunning to watch.
Almost half the team kicked a goal, with Adam Prior equalling Norm Minns’ long-standing record of 11 goals in a representative match playing on the very ground named in his honour.
It was a history-making day.
Coach Brendan Fevola could not fault his team’s performance.
How could he?
“I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” Fevola said.
“I said before the game ‘let’s play Ovens and Murray footy’ and I think we did.
“We were tough, hard, skilful, exciting and entertaining.”
The O and M turned the match into a blowout when it kicked 10 goals on the trot in a sharp burst across the third and final quarters.
The players went inside 50 on 66 occasions, scoring 45 times as they booted 29 goals for the game.
I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I said before the game ‘let’s play Ovens and Murray footy’ and I think we did. We were tough, hard, skilful, exciting and entertaining.
Fevola was well held by Hampden vice-captain Paul Hinkley, and Wodonga Raiders’ star Dean Limbach was also quiet, but Lavington gun Prior couldn’t be stopped in attack.
He marked everything sent his way, kicked straight and made the most of his mismatch inside 50.
Joel Mackie, Dean Polo, Tyler Bonat, Brayden O’Hara, Tim Cooper and Steve Jolliffe had complete control in the midfield.
They almost doubled Hampden’s clearances and dominated the contested ball. Brandon Symes fed them all game with silver-service in the ruck.
He was one of the best players on the ground.
Tyson Hartwig was rock-solid in defence, supported all game by Judd Porter, Luke Packer and Drew Barnes.
While victory looked all but assured by half-time, the backline remained relentless in keeping Hampden off the scoresheet.
Mackie was clearly best on ground and Prior slotted them from everywhere, but Lonnie Hampton stole the show, turning the match on its head with his class, pace and trickery, kicking five brilliant goals on the run.
North Albury’s Jarrah Maksymow provided highlights when the heat was on early.
“I just told them to do their thing,” Fevola said.
“They had free rein.
“They were a bit nervous before the game but I just wanted them to pull out their tricks and they did.”
With the weight of expectation on their shoulders, Fevola said the league’s shaky start didn’t cause him any concern.
“You’re never going to blow teams away in the first quarter at this level,” Fevola said.
“We just had to make sure we were in the game and then start grinding away from there until you put them away.”