The Augusta Margaret River Hawks 2019 South West Football League season has started with a decisive win over a visiting South Bunbury side.
With a generous turnout at the Hawks' home ground on Saturday afternoon Augusta Margaret River wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, with two early goals and a couple of points secured in the first minutes of the game.
South Bunbury struggled to make their mark in the first quarter, overrun by an energetic Hawks side determined to keep the visitors from scoring, utilising their speedy defenders to rush the ball away from danger.
Hawk Braden Smith looked reliable early, setting up a number of opportunities but some hasty disposals saw the Hawks hand possession to the Tigers.
Hunter Hall secured Augusta Margaret River's third goal for the day with a confident kick while South Bunbury languished without a point to their name.
With accuracy and energy not on their side South Bunbury could only manage to notch 13 points by the first siren, both teams showing signs of fatigue and rushing kicks that could have paid off under calmer conditions.
The second quarter continued much as the first, with Hawks players flooding play and making life difficult for South Bunbury whenever they managed to take possession of the ball.
Mitch Payne proved himself a valuable asset to this year's Hawks squad, putting his body on the line to reach for some of the toughest marks in the match alongside Ricky Cary.
South Bunbury began to recover towards the end of the second quarter but were still unable to manage a major score, limited to just one point during the second term.
Ricky Cary took a clean mark in the opening seconds of the quarter and slotted the ball through for a goal, followed quickly by a set shot by Harry Taylor that did not make the distance, instead collected by Mitch Payne who locked down the Hawks fifth goal.
Matt Wilkinson spent much of the first half working to slow down play as the Hawks ran away with two goals and another four points, a handful of more accurate kicks could have told a very different story during this game.
South Bunbury's Sayln Stein and Guy Piggott worked hard to set up some opportunities but were quickly overturned by Hawks players, who relied on long kicks and clear direction to keep the visitors running and avoiding dangerous tight contests, where the Tigers looked dangerous.
Another play by Tiger Brent Latch looked promising but was shut down for the second time in as many minutes by Hawk Jackson Lavell-Lee.
Seve Grantis, Matt Jukes and Lincoln Adams gave their opponents little chance to catch their breath with fast paced play down the wing and through the centre to deliver the ball to the hands of the waiting Cary.
By the third term, the Hawks were showing signs of slowing and the Tigers had a chance to make their move.
Fatigued by their first half attack, the home side dropped some easy marks and for the first time during the game were not reaching the ball first, allowing South Bunbury to deflect the ball and buy some time, keeping the Hawks to just 4 behinds during the third quarter.
Two goals to each side in the final quarter and South Bunbury were sent packing as the Hawks celebrated a 21 point win for the opening round of the 2019 season.
The Hawks will travel to Harvey this Saturday to face the Bulls, while South Bunbury will meet the Collie Eagles at Hands Oval on Sunday.
Final Score: Augusta Margaret River 7.15-57 def. South Bunbury 5.6-36.
Hawks goalkickers: R. Cary (2), H. Taylor, M. Jukes, H. Hall, G. Wrightson, M. Payne
Hawks best: M. Payne, T. McDonald, M. Paterson, J. Lavell-Lee, M. Jukes, M. Gerrans