Barooga young gun Daniel Johnston was named as one of the players in the Murray Bushrangers’ leadership group for the 2017 season ahead of their first clash last weekend.
The Bushrangers kicked off their campaign against Bendigo at Punt Rd Oval on Saturday, taking the win against the Pioneers.
Cobram youngster Sam Beasley was one of 12 players to make their debut for the team on Saturday.
Generations of Bushies fail to be threatened by the country rivals, with Saturday’s victory the 23rd consecutive win to the Bushrangers against the opponent.
But the game only looked a certainty in the final quarter, when Murray broke away with a seven-goal term.
Starting round one of the TAC Cup season in front of a strong crowd, coach Leon Higgins said the game lacked polish.
‘‘It was a pretty slow start, to be honest, the first three quarters were pretty scrappy from both teams,’’ Higgins said.
‘‘We got a good run in the last quarter.’’
The Bushies entered the final term with an advantage of 12 points which increased to 41 points in the seven-goals-to-one quarter.
Higgins said his side, made up of a host of debutantes, began to produce a more complete display after the three-quarter-time break.
‘‘Our pressure started to take a toll on the opposition, we probably had some stronger bodies around the contest and our tackle pressure was great,’’ he said.
‘‘That was great, we got more uncontested possessions and managed to kick unanswered goals.’’
The Bushrangers’ defence will be integral to the side’s outcome this year as the team lacks a power forward, which it had in the way of AFL recruits Todd Marshall and Esava Ratugolea last year.
Five players kicked two goals for Murray with eight footballers getting their name on the scoreboard.
Higgins said there were strong performers at either end of the ground who contributed to the sizeable round one victory.
—with Lauren Bordin