REIGNING premier Barnawartha overcame an early challenge from Tallangatta to win by 44 points in atrocious conditions at Tallangatta on Saturday.
With the Tigers going into the clash without Paul Harrington and Jack Price, coach Mark Sarau said he was pleased to see other players stand up and show leadership.
“We saw Tallangatta as a genuine threat,” Sarau said.
“They will get a scalp or two this year.
“The conditions were really tough and it was good to see players like Kyle McNamara lead the way for us.
“It was a game we just wanted to tick off.”
Barnawartha, who will be without the unavailable Mitch Exton for the next month, led by only seven points at quarter-time before picking up the tempo through McNamara, Exton, Cameron McNeill and Nathan McKendrick.
Kyle Lieschke and Jacob Wood tried hard for Tallangatta.
Wahgunyah returned to the winning list with an impressive 69-point victory over Yackandandah at Wahgunyah.
After struggling for consistency in recent weeks, the Lions made a statement early with Nick Brockley, Heath Northey and Leigh Schulz in outstanding form for the victors.
Jake Wicker was best for Yackandandah.
Mitta United defeated Chiltern by 60 points at Eskdale.
Brothers Jarrod and Tyson Gorupic led the way for the Blues, with back-up coming from Aiden Adams, Ethan O’Donnell and Joel Wilson.
Dederang-Mount Beauty accounted for Beechworth by 28 points at Dederang.