AN unanswered eight-goal run catapulted the Bathurst Bushrangers Rebels clear of the Dubbo Demons during their 13-8-86 to 9-11-65 Central West AFL opening round win on Saturday.
The contest at George Park 2 was an even affair outside of the Bushrangers goal blitz, with both clubs' defence looking impressive for the first game of the season.
So much so that the score was just nine to five in favour of Dubbo at the end of the first term.
Rebels found their spark in the second quarter to run out to an 8-5-53 to 3-3-21 lead at the main break.
Demons showed plenty of enthusiasm across the remainder of the game, outscoring Rebels over the two remaining quarters, but the hosts held strong to start their campaign in winning fashion.
Rebels co-coach Matt Archer - who led the way on the score sheet with seven goals - said the Demons produced one of their strongest away performances in some time.
"It was a tough, physical game. It's probably the strongest I've seen Dubbo travel in quite some time. They came out of the gates strongly and they didn't let us get into any rhythm," he said.
"They probably should have been up a good three or fours goals after that first quarter but we somehow held on and kept it low scoring.
"That second quarter was what ended up doing it for us. We kicked eight straight goals there. Outside of that run it was a big arm wrestle."
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Throughout this season Bushrangers will look to channel more of the football that produced their 48-point second quarter.
Their suffocating defence and dominance across the middle of the field turned momentum in their favour.
"We started winning the ball out of the midfield more and we found our composure there. Our delivery to the half forwards was much better," Archer said.
"We talked Mick Phillips out of retirement. He's a 56-year-old and he kicked two goals in about two minutes early in that second quarter which lifted everyone else up.
"We want to play a high, attacking style of football. When you're winning the football it allows your half backs to push up the ground and lock the ball in their half, which was what we were able to do there."
Demons' Bevan Charlton-White finished the match with six goals.
Rebels now prepare for a round two meeting against rivals Bathurst Giants.
BATHURST BUSHRANGERS REBELS 13-8-86 (Matt Archer 7, Michael Phillips 2, Michael Long 2, Bill Watterson, Andrew Knox) defeated DUBBO DEMONS 9-11-65 (Bevan Charlton-White 6, Chris Bell 2, Ben Madigan)
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