MOOROOLBARK'S premiership challenge is off and running with a 25-point win over Waverley Blues at Speights Reserve on Saturday.
The Mustangs, who missed the Eastern Football League division 2 finals last season, put on an attractive display of running football with stars Cam Linford, Matt Polkinghorne and Trent Georgiou and new signing Mark Martin all making several inside-50s and long goals.
After trailing in the first term, the Blues stormed into the lead at half-time after forcing plenty of turnovers from the attack-minded Mustangs.
But from the opening minutes of the second half the Mustangs reasserted themselves, making numerous ventures inside their attacking 50-metre arc but could only take a 22-point advantage despite enough chances to build a winning lead.
In the final term, the Mustangs showed they had more left in the tank, kicking goals including two sealers from Kire Talevski (four goals) and speedy recruit Mark Martin. Mustangs coach Brett Fisher said his side had made a good start to the season.
"If a player is a running player you want him to do what he does best, so we got those guys into position to get those running possessions. We are going to play that attacking style and we know sides will kick goals on us when we get caught out or don't work hard enough back up the ground, but we have to overcome that, which we did today."
Fisher said the Mustangs juggled their midfield in the opening half to preserve runners until late in the game. "I think that helped us overcome them. But we still have a lot of improvement to come and you won't see our best football until round five or six."
Fisher praised Martin, who joined the club from Yarra Valley MDFL club Mt Evelyn.
"Mark was terrific. We will need his second and third efforts, which were excellent today. He has come up to this level and he is still a young player but he has made the adjustment quickly and revelled in EFL footy."
The Mustangs expect to bring ruckman James Charge and key defender Alex Wadsworth into the side next match and still have plenty of adjustments to make.
"We were moving our midfield around today because we don't know our best combinations yet," Fisher said. "But when we found some good combinations in the second half we kept with them."
Montrose opened its season with a 38-point win over Doncaster East on Saturday.
The Demons, under new coach Brett Johnson, trailed by three goals at the first change but powered back into the game taking a slight half-time lead before a 10-goal second half handed them an impressive win. Jayden Weatherley, Sam Goodman, Adam Cook and Andrew Knee were among the Demons's best with Cook and Billy Shilling each kicking four goals.