A BRILLIANT eight-goal final quarter propelled Rutherglen to a 35-point victory over Chiltern in their clash at Rutherglen on Saturday.
Leading by just three points at the final change, the Cats kicked 8.2 to 2.2 to show they cannot be underestimated this season.
Former Corowa-Rutnerglen youngster Jed Griffin kicked five goals playing in the midfield and up forward, Jared Farwell was prolific around the packs and Darcy Spinks provided a target with three majors.
Murray Bushrangers co-captain Cameron Wilson also made his presence felt.
Co-coach Dan Athanitis said it was an important win with a host of sides in the mix to play finals.
"We made a few minor changes at the last change like Farwell (Jared) going out to a wing, but pretty much we just tried to open the game up," he said.
"The boys did well.
"It was pleasing because our pre-season wasn't ideal.
"We'll take the win for sure."
Chiltern's chances weren't helped by several injuries including spearhead Michael McWilliams who finished the match on the bench.
Brad Zwiersen, Dylon Simpson, Harrison Cowie and Brendan Morris were solid for Rutherglen while Chiltern were best served by Brodie Oates, Ben Mason, Chris Anderson and Ash Van Klaveren.
Coach Rick Whitehead played a lone hand in attack kicking four goals.
"We were disappointed to lose to Barnawartha last week, but we had our chances and just didn't take them," Athanitis said.
"It's an even league."
Rutherglen lost primemover Nathan Waite early in the match with an ankle injury.
Thurgoona overcame a poor start to defeat Barnawartha by 71 points.
The Bulldogs trailed by 20 points early before exploding into action through the efforts of Jayden Kotzur, Sam Cross and Michael Rampal.
Jacob Bruce and Matt Fowler provided targets, kicking nine goals between them.
Thurgoona's depth can't be questioned with players of the ilk of Matt Murray and Rory Muggivan lining up in the reserves at the weekend.
Barnawartha sorely missed the class of Peter Cook in attack with a lot of Corey Ladgrove, Adam Elias and Josh Spence's good work going unrewarded.
Kiewa-Sandy Creek picked up the tempo after half-time to defeat Dederang-Mt Beauty by 36 points.
The Hawks trailed by 10 points at the main break before bursting into action thanks to Cameron Evans, Jed Andrew, Tim Darcy and Michael Thompson.
It was a vastly improved showing by Dederang-Mt Beauty with Ben Rigoni, Adam Schupina and Mark Cole performing well.
Tallangatta edged out Yackandandah by five points.
Despite Trent Castles kicking nine goals and Danny Atwell starring at ground level, the Hoppers did just enough through Joel O'Connell, Scott Spencer and Glenn Nye.
Mitta United hammered Wahgunyah by 153 points with Drew Cameron bagging 11 majors.