IT HAS taken three rounds but Echuca Football Club has finally arrived in the Goulburn Valley League.
The senior line-up recorded its first win for 2017, and third win under lights, following the night clash at Mooroopna Oval on Saturday.
It had been a poor start for Echuca who struggled to take the premiership points in the first two rounds with losses to Euroa and Benalla.
Mooroopna was as luckless in its first two hit-outs and failed to rise to the occasion again during its first night match.
The Cats remain winless this season after the Murray Bombers eventually downed the home side by 62 points, shaking off their previous first quarter efforts to assert themselves early in the game.
Echuca scored five consecutive goals to lead 8.1 (49) to the Cats 2.2 (14) at the first break — Cameron Valentine kicking two in the first five minutes before a third later in the first quarter.
Captain Jordan Florance was back playing after an ankle injury in round one and showed little signs of the week off kicking one goal in the first and four overall.
He was able to create a strong contest in the forward-line according to coach Andrew Briggs after uncertainty earlier in the week over whether he would play.
‘‘It was a tremendous first win,’’ Briggs said.
‘‘Our intensity in the first quarter set us up for the game.
‘‘We were able to capitalise on our forward entries and our pressure was really good.
‘‘We were able to get a couple of goals from tackles inside our forward 50 which set us up for the rest of the game.’’
The Murray Bombers had nine scoring shots from 12 inside 50s in the first quarter which Briggs put down to a hard-working midfield.
Mooroopna’s intensity lifted in the second quarter and teams were goal-for-goal — each scoring 3.2 to keep the margin to 35 points at half-time.
Nathan Turner was able to make an impact late in the second quarter and carried the momentum into the third to kick three goals in total and be named in the Cats’ bests.
Clint Riley was kept quiet in the midfield while the young and promising Dean Smith was influential around contests and stoppages.
Ruory Kirkby was a standout for the Murray Bombers, kicking 8.2 and taking multiple marks in the forward-half.
‘‘He’s a good clean player and was outstanding in the game (on Saturday),’’ Briggs said.
‘‘Simon Buckley was consistently getting hands on ball; Kane Morris was again strong in the ruck; and Tim Allan was able to apply plenty of crunching tackles throughout the game.’’
Daniel Willis played much better this week across half-back and was a strong contributor throughout the game.
But the Murray Bombers’ biggest influence was Nathan Bottomley who laid a huge bump in the third quarter and set the tone for the rest of the game.
Echuca hit its straps in the third quarter with a goalkicking display from Kirkby, scoring 5.2 to the Cat’s 2.4, and added another three goals in the last to win 120-58.
The club has another night game this week against Shepparton Swans and hoped to consolidate on its first win.
‘‘We plan to build on our game by focusing on the things we did well against Mooroopna,’’ Briggs said.
‘‘We have already improved on our midfield stoppages and ball movement and will keep working on those.
‘‘We learnt (on Saturday) to be more ruthless and work harder for every ball.’’
Communication is still something the Murray Bombers will be building on in games to come, but Briggs said it had become a lot better since the first round.