Top teams kick off GFL season strongly

Last season's Mathieson medalist Harry Benson had 33 touches in St Mary's 158-point win over St Albans. (Red Onion)

Ash Bolt

Leopold has survived a late scare to kick off its 2022 Geelong Football League season with a one-point win over Geelong West.

Hosting the Giants at Leopold Memorial Park on Sunday, the Lions almost saw the first win of the season slip away when Noah Gribble lined up for a set shot in the final minutes of the game.

However the shot went wide and the Lions were able to hold on for the 9.13 (67) to 10.6 (66) victory.

The Lions got off to a strong start kicking out to a two-goal lead by quarter time, but inaccuracy in front of goal saw it slip away in the second quarter.

Leopold couldn’t take advantage of its chances, kicking one goal and five behinds in the term, as the Giants were more efficient at the other end and took a two-point lead into the halftime break.

The Giants looked like holding on in the second half as it extended its slender lead before the Lions kicked into gear in the final term.

Down seven points at three quarter time, Leopold had more chances to score and kicked two goals to one to get in front before Geelong West missed its chance to snatch back the lead late.

Mitchell Patten was the standout for Leopold, kicking five goals.

Last year’s minor premier St Mary’s is in a familiar place on the ladder after belting last year’s bottom team St Albans by 158 points.

Star forward Patrick Dowling kicked eight goals for the Saints in the 26.19 (175) to 2.5 (17) victory.

After a slow start, the Saints got out to a nine-goal lead at half time but blew the game apart in the second half and capped off the win with an 11 goal to none final term.

Fellow premiership fancy Colac also started its season with a hard-fought 28 point win over St Joseph’s.

The Joeys sent a scare through the Tigers’ ranks early, with a five goal to two first quarter, but Colac picked up its defensive efforts after the first break.

The Tigers kept St Joseph’s to just four more goals for the game as they proved too strong in the 14.11 (95) to 9.13 (67) win.

Former Cat and Blue Darcy Lang was the standout for the Tigers with 34 disposals and seven inside 50s, while Luke Hillman kicked four goals.

South Barwon also shook off a slow start to record a comfortable 32 point win over Grovedale.

The Swans were kept goalless in the first term, but back-to-back five-goal quarters either side of the halftime break set up the 13.15 (93) to 9.7 (61) win.

Jackson Carmody was the star for South Barwon and kicked six goals.

The biggest upset of the round came with Newtown and Chilwell scoring a 20-point win over Bell Park.

The Dragons didn’t take full advantage of the breeze early, but the Eagles did in the second term to skip out to a 16-point halftime lead.

The lead pushed out to 19 by three quarter time and although the Dragons kicked into gear and took control in the final quarter, poor kicking meant Bell Park only managed one goal and seven behinds in the 8.15 (63) to 12.11 (83) loss.

In the final game of the round, North Shore demolished Lara by 131 points.

The Seagulls dominated from the start and didn’t let up at any point, piling on 16 goals after half time in the 5.11 (41) to 27.10 (172) win.

Mitch Langan kicked seven goals for the Seagulls, while Jason Davenport and Jake Sammut-Miljevic each added four.