COROWA-Rutherglen put the competition on notice when it upset reigning premier Wangaratta 57-52 in a thrilling shoot-out at Wangaratta's Norm Minns Oval on Saturday.
With North Albury recruit Grace Senior making a sensational debut with 51 goals from 61 attempts, the Roos forged clear in the dying minutes to clinch one of the club's most memorable victories.
Coach Georgie Bruce was thrilled with the victory but warned this weekend's clash against Yarrawonga would be equally as tough.
"It was a good start to the season, but we'll keep it in context," Bruce said.
"The final margin was the biggest margin of the game so it was really close all night.
"There weren't too many mistakes made by either side."
The match was one of the highest scoring A grade matches for several years with 109 goals scored.
While Senior dominated the scoreboard, Jess Bice did a power of work in the circle and Emily Laracy was a consistent four-quarter contributor.
Bruce said the Roos had spent the pre-season working on cohesion.
"We've worked really hard on getting people to gel together," she said.
"Sophie (Hanrahan) commented about it in Saturday's Border Mail and I was pleased that we're getting to know each other's game.
"That was an area we really focused on."
Wangaratta's Amanda Umanski impressed with 42 goals for the Magpies while talented youngster Amelia Reilly refused to wilt under intense pressure in her A-grade- debut.
"She played in last year's B-grade side for Wangaratta and was really good," Bruce said.
"I take my hat off to her.
"She was still putting pressure on us in the last quarter and, for a young kid to play that well in such a tight game, was really impressive."
Bruce believes Corowa-Rutherglen will need to bring the same intensity to the table to defeat Yarrawonga at John Foord Oval this weekend.
"I think Yarrawonga has been underrated so far," she said.
"I know the girls who are returning to their side and they are fantastic players. No one should be taking Yarra lightly."
Lavington showed it can cover the departure of several key players by defeating North Albury 61-29 at Lavington.
With defenders Kate Yensch and Rhiannon Dolahenty missing, coach Tamara Mathews took a new-look side into the season opener and the Panthers didn't disappoint.
"We were just stoked with the way we were able to move some of our players around," Mathews said.
"We were able to swing Maggie Young from shooting to defence.
"We rotated through our mid-court and our shooters were able to rotate, so it was really nice to see we've still got that versatility and depth off the bench."
Maddi Lloyd and Laura Hueske were outstanding for Lavington while Sarah Senini shot 33 goals.
Kirby Hilton, Tayla Vogel and Mia Duryea tried hard for the Hoppers.
The match marked a successful return from Skye Hillier who seriously injured her knee in the 2017 grand final against Yarrawonga.
"We were so pleased for Skye to see her come back and she hardly looked liked she'd missed a game," Mathews said.
"She's done a ton of work to get back to where she is so that was really good."