Former Goulburn Valley star Tim Looby produced his finest display to kick-start Myrtleford’s season with an 11-point win over a gritty North Albury.
The gallant Hoppers had reduced the margin to 10 points, but Looby kicked a classy goal with two minutes left to seal the 13.13 (91) to 12.8 (80) win.
“Tim’s been getting used to the rest of the team and the movement of the footy,” Saints’ coach Leigh Corcoran said.
“It was his best game, his work rate’s lifting and he’s getting more involvement.”
The match-sealer was one of two goals for Looby, with doubles also to Brad Murray and Ryley Sharp, while Frazer Dale kicked three majors.
North received a massive boost when VFL players Dom Brew and Shaun Mannagh were named.
The pair was outstanding and how the Hoppers would love to have them for the rest of the season.
Tim’s been getting used to the rest of the team and the movement of the footy. It was his best game, his work rate’s lifting and he’s getting more involvement.
Brew said that might be his only match, depending on commitments, but Mannagh is hopeful of playing more games.
Mannagh kicked three goals, along with another of the Hoppers’ best in Lachlan Taylor-Nugent, while Brew snared two.
North was courageous and willing, but it’s two or three class players short of pushing a top-five contender.
Myrtleford will fancy itself as a finalist, given it broke a 10-year drought last year.
And that’s why an opening win was imperative.
“Certainly our effort for four quarters was a lot better and our pressure was also better,” Corcoran said.
The Saints took just 29 seconds to grab the first goal, VFL player Matt Munro, in his debut, blasting out of the centre with Looby taking a strong mark.
But North carried a five-point lead to the first break after Mannagh showed his class.
However, the Saints skipped away by two goals at half-time, Mannagh becoming involved in a wrestle, with Luke Quirk taking advantage.
Goals to Mannagh and Brew levelled the score early in the third term, but again the Saints had just too much class, with thirds captain Seth Hescock goaling on debut.
Murray, who was battling both the flu and a bruised knee, came off after a heavy collision, but he returned to show his composure with a pack mark and goal from a tight angle in the final quarter.
Myrtleford looked home 27 points up at the 14-minute mark, but goals to the impressive Taylor-Nugent, Daniel Leslie and Brew handed North some hope, until Looby’s cool finish.