A high-flying Barooga team has once again taken the honours in the annual Easter weekend cross-river derby, beating rivals Cobram by 59 points on Saturday.
The Tigers booted the first goal of the match, but did not score again until nine minutes into the second term.
After trailing by 19 points at the main break, they were 50 points behind at the last break after being kept goalless in the third quarter by a dominant Barooga side.
‘‘Last year we lost to Tongala in round two and it probably cost us in the end,’’ Hawks co-coach Tyrone Downie said.
‘‘So obviously we’re really happy to get off to the best start possible (this season).’’
The Hawks did it tough early on against rival Cobram, but proved the better side across four quarters in the 59-point win.
‘‘It was a really good result and it’s always good to beat Cobram at Cobram,’’ Downie said.
‘‘It was a great crowd and a perfect day for footy. It was tough early, but we broke it open after three-quarter-time.’’
Downie himself was influential in the match, dominating with six goals in a best-on-ground performance.
Spiro Vourgaslis and Will Gorman also chipped in with two each, while Matt Demaio, Thomas Wilkinson and Jake Russell also contributed one each.
Also influential for the Hawks were Brodie A’Vard, Matthew Jackson, Billy Andrew, Glenn Nye and Cameron Sandral.
But it was not all good news for the Hawks, with Jake Russell likely to miss a week after being reported for rough conduct.
The Tigers have some injury concerns of their own, with Brent Downie ruled out of the match after quarter-time with concussion and Scott Spencer nursing bruised ribs after the game.
Co-coach Josh Noonan was happy with the effort from his side, but said Cobram would take some important lessons away from the defeat.
‘‘The first half effort was really good, but it is a four-quarter game and we really fell away in the fourth,’’ Noonan said.
‘‘It was a bit of an eye-opener, but lesson learnt and we’ll move on; it’s just a matter of re-grouping.’’
In a positive for the team, it was the closest margin for the derby since the Tigers last won in 2013 — the Hawks won last years’ cross-border match-ups by 100 and 101 points.
The Tigers are a youthful side, and Noonan is confident the overall picture is coming together well at Scott Oval.
‘‘We think we’re heading in the right direction,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ve got a good group of kids with a local feel, and we’re trying to build Cobram back to where it used to be and sustain it for years to come, not just for one year.’’
Best-on-ground for the Tigers included Nathan Hartley, Sam Gemmill, Tim Garlick, Sam Beasley, Shaun Greenway and Alexander King.
King, Noah Lane, Dacry McCormack, Tyron Baden and Josh Carkeek all chipped in one goal each.
The Tigers face Mulwala next week, while the Hawks are confident of a good showing against a struggling Finley.
‘‘We’re looking forward to facing Finley next week, but the message will be to just continue executing our game plan,’’ Downie said.
‘‘We’re very happy with the start and hope that it keeps going.’’
—with Tyler Maher
●More pictures on page 22.