THE Middlemount Panthers have overpowered the Bluff Rabbitohs in the opening round of the 2010 Central Highlands rugby league competition at the weekend.
After leading 10-4 in the first stanza, the Rabbitohs eventually went down to the Panthers 54-22 in a tough encounter.
Middlemount coach Damien Cavanagh said it was a big effort for the players' first game of the year.
“We have a lot of new faces in the team,” Cavanagh said.
Trent Watts lead the way for Middlemount, scoring five tries.
Cavanagh said Matt Goddard and Ed Winter were also standout players for the Panthers.
Also crossing the line for the Panthers were Drew Whittaker, Ben Hibbers, Ryan Hansel, Jacob Cobbin and Jason Randell, while conversions were made by Patrick McMahon.
Bluff coach Kelly Conway said the signs were all positive for the Rabbitohs.
Conway said despite numbers being light on early in the year, each and every player put in 100 per cent in effort and should hold their heads high.
Players who stood out for Bluff were Man of the Match Devon Malone who led by example getting through a mountain of work in attack and defence, Lenny Comollatti and Matt Charles also put in inspiring efforts and Mick Muller who was bruising in defence and a handful in attack.
Captain Sid Doyle gave some great direction and youngsters Chris McKay, Ethan Mclaughlin and Caleb Comollatti all put their hands up in the strong windy conditions.
Conway was extremely happy with the effort the boys put in and hoped they would stick together as it would be a great rebuilding year for the club.
Bluff's try scorers were Jayden Hill, Phillip Alberts, Mick Muller and Josh Byrne, while Matt Charles and Muller made the conversions.
Middlemount will take on Clermont in the second round this weekend.
“This game will be a good indication of where we are at,” Cavanagh said.
“I think Clermont will be the side to beat.”
The Bluff supporters were tremendous making the trip up to Middlemount and Conway hopes to repay their faith with a strong performance against the Emerald Cowboys this Sunday at Maccas Oval in Bluff.
With more players available, he hoped to grab the early win to give the side confidence to realise they could be competitive in the revamped Central Highlands A-grade competition in 2010.