YARRAWONGA proved beyond doubt it is a force to be reckoned with by downing Myrtleford by 88 points at McNamara Reserve on Saturday.
The whopping 22.13 (145) to 8.9 (57) drubbing was not what sounded the warning — it was the manner in which the Pigeons did the job.
Myrtleford provided spirited opposition for most of the match but in the end it was simply outclassed as Yarrawonga finished full of running with a 10 goal to one final term.
In the absence of goal-kickers Brendan Fevola and Brad O’Connor, it was left to Kayne Pettifer to become the major focal point, but it took a long time coming.
When ruckman Steve McKee and Brandon Symes were parked at full-forward, Pettifer relished a freedom role to kick five last-quarter goals.
After playing perimeter football for three quarters, the Pigeons found the direct route the best, kicking 10.1 from 14 last-quarter entries.
McKee, whose return has been a massive boost, and Symes dominated the hitouts as the Pigeons’ fleet of on-ballers relished the drying surface.
Craig Ednie, Matt Gorman, Xavier Leslie, Craig Whinray, Ed Bayles and Tyler Bonat supplied a mountain of opportunities.
Marcus Cummins made a welcome return from injury by marking strongly up forward as Yarrawonga produced its best quarter of the season.
The heavy conditions made it a tough slog on both teams with Saints’ gun Kristan Height locked in a great contest with Matt Gorman.
Saints co-coach Brad Murray was restricted by hamstring tightness and spent the match in attack, where he kicked two goals.
“I thought our efforts in the first three quarters were pretty good and we were more than competitive,” Murray said.
“Obviously Yarra is a good side and when you take your foot off the pedal they will make you pay.
“They taught us a lesson on how to play the game in the final quarter as their class rose to the top.”
Yarrawonga coach Chris Kennedy said the win was a step in the right direction.
“Internally we know what direction we are taking as we get ready for the finals,” Kennedy said.
“The home and away season is a long time and it’s impossible to be up all season.
“We are working into a side and discovering the best way in using it.”