THE perfect start to Cobden export Zach Merrett’s tenure as Essendon captain continued last weekend.
Merrett, one of the Hampden leagues 10 listed AFL players, was instrumental for the Bombers to a 28 point win over the Gold Coast Suns at Marvel Stadium.
He finished with 31 possessions, four clearances and seven inside 50s in a best on ground performance, with the Dons kicking five goals to one in the final quarter to secure the four points.
Fellow Cobden products Sean Darcy and Gary Rohan endured losses with Fremantle and Geelong respectively, with the Dockers falling short against Ben Cunnington’s North Melbourne and the Cats downed by Carlton.
Darcy enjoyed a strong battle with Todd Goldstein and finished with six touches and 27 hit-outs, while Cunnington was prominent for the Roos in a 24 possession and six clearance outing which also featured three inside 50s.
Rohan kicked a goal from seven touches in the Cats eight point loss, with the reigning premiers’ currently winless in their defence of last year’s premiership.
Portland duo Rowan Marshall and Jamaine Jones featured in wins for their sides, with Marshall one of St Kilda’s best in their win over the Western Bulldogs and Jones among the best players in West Coast’s win over GWS Giants.
Marshall was the leading ruckman on the ground in the Saints victory, finishing with 29 hit-outs, 20 touches, nine clearances and three inside 50s.
South Warrnambool’s Jamarra Ugle-Hagan featured for the Bulldogs, kicking two behinds from eight touches but his night ended on a sour note when he was racially abused a Saints fan, an incident which was condemned by both clubs and the AFL post-match.
Jones, meanwhile, recorded 27 touches, 11 inside 50s and gained a match-high 776 metres playing on the wing for the Eagles in what was one of the best games of his career to date.
Another Roosters’ product in Hugh McCluggage was prolific in the Lions victory over Melbourne.
The midfielder managed six clearances alongside 21 touches as Brisbane bounced back from a shock opening-round loss to Port Adelaide.
Rounding out the contingent is North Warrnambool’s Josh Corbett and Cobden’s Sam Walsh, with the pair not featuring at AFL level.
Corbett lined up for the Peel Thunder in a WAFL practice match and kicked two goals, while Walsh is still recovering from off-season back surgery.