GLADSTONE Mudcrabs withstood a gallant Rockhampton Panthers to maintain its perfect start to the AFL Capricornia season.
The visiting Panthers crashed in early as Mudcrabs gave away a series of undisciplined free kicks, but it could not cash in on the scoreboard at the Clinton Oval clash.
Muddies ground away and had too much class on its way to a 12.19 (91) to 7.6 (48) win in front of a healthy home crowd. Ruckman Josh Roati was a force around the ground as he fed the Mudcrabs' fleet-footed runners in the likes of Stephen Eilola and Jason Garritty to allow and use their strength and explosiveness to break away from stoppages.
Key forward Zac Jahn was a constant thorn for the Panthers' defenders and he finished with four goals for the game. Muddies playing coach Joe Walsh said it was an improvement from round one, but is demanding more.
"I'm happy we took the points, but our scoring shots ratio is not ideal and that's the thing we need to work on," Walsh said. He added that back-up ruckman Josh Smallacombe was impressive after being out of the game for five years. Aaron Eilola chipped in with three goals while recruit Mark Jensen was skilled and polished off a half back flank especially when the heat was on during then first half.
His ability to cut off forward entries while providing his own is a treat to watch and he rarely misses a target. Shane Eilola dominated in the forward lines and he either took contested marks or at least provided a strong contest.
Midfielder Garritty did plenty of the grunt work in the clinches and never flinches by putting his head over the pill in contested situations. This then frees up runners in Kyle Richardson and Josh Brown. John Alexander and Sam Schofield were other Mudcrabs to impress.
Meanwhile fellow Gladstone-based club BITS registered its first win with an impressive 12.15 (87) to Rocky Brothers' 8.6 (54) win. BITS' player/coach Damien Lyon booted five goals while team-mate Samuel Joppich starred. There is no footy next weekend due to the Labour Day Long Weekend. Mudcrabs return to Clinton Oval to do battle in a blockbuster against Rockhampton Brothers while BITS are up against 2015 premiers Yeppoon at BITS on May 7 both from 2.15pm.
WEEKEND AFL RESULTS
A Grade: Gladstone Mudcrabs 12.19 (91) to Rockhampton Panthers 7.6 (48); BITS Saints 12.15 (87) d Rockhampton Brothers 8.6 (54); Yeppoon 14.19 (103) d Glenmore 4.7 (31).