Craigieburn has kicked off its season in fine fashion, beating highly rated Tullamarine in Essendon District Football League division 1.

Having had a bye in round one, the Eagles were keen to get out on the field and dust off the cobwebs.

Both sides had periods of controlling the play, but the Eagles were able to do so for longer, winning 18.19 (127)-10.21 (81).

Eagles coach Lance Whitnall said he was thrilled to get a first-up win.

“We obviously knew from a long way out that we were playing them first up,” he said.

“We’re pretty happy to get the four points against a quality side that looks like they will be thereabouts.”

After an even first quarter, the Eagles kicked out to a 17-point half-time lead.

The Demons, as they are known for, found another level in the third quarter, making Whitnall and the Eagles coaching staff a bit nervous.

Craigieburn player Shannon Smith

Craigieburn’s Shannon Smith. Picture Shawn Smits.

TO GALLERY: Craigieburn vs Tullamarine 

But the Eagles steadied to come away with a big win.

“The third quarter was a big worrying,” Whitnall said.

“The last quarter was one of the best. It was a hard-working effort by the boys.”

The Eagles had six players kick multiple goals, led by John Bellino, who kicked five.

The Eagles were without last year’s leading goal kicker in the division, Dean Limbach, who was a late withdrawal.

Whitnall said they didn’t want to chance him and risk injury.

“We didn’t want to play him and risk injury, so we took the cautious option,” he said.

“Hopefully, he’ll be back for our next game or the one after that.”

The Eagles had plenty of stars in the absence of Limbach.

The most pleasing thing for Whitnall was the spread of performers.

“We didn’t think that we carried anyone,” he said. “If you do that, more often than not you’ll get the win.”

Whitnall said Liam Middleton and Joshua Vilinskis were handy contributors along with two of the more experienced players, Brent Gordon and Ryan Bongetti.

“I think they are among the best older players in the competition,” he said of Gordan and Bongetti.

The Eagles have another week off due to the Easter break.

Only Hillside and Taylors Lakes, which didn’t play at the weekend, will be in action this weekend in their traditional Good Friday clash.

While Whitnall said it was not ideal having another break, they would continue to work before facing Taylors Lakes the following weekend.

In other results, Westmeadows won the thriller of the weekend by beating West Coburg 16.11 (107)-16.8 (104). Thomas Muscat was named the Tigers’ best.

Roxburgh Park was smashed by East Keilor 33.15 (213)-3.10 (28).

In premier division, Greenvale beat Maribyrnong Park 13.13 (91)-10.7 (67).

In division 2, Jacana lost to Coburg Districts 24.13 (157)-12.5 (77).


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