NORTH Ballarat City has sent out the strongest of messages by thumping Redan by a whopping 76 points at City Oval in the opening round of the Ballarat Football League season today.
After a sluggish start in which North trailed by nine points at the first break, the reigning premiers were simply dominant for the remainder of the match, at one stage kicking nine consecutive goals to take the match away from Redan.
Shaun Lyle continued his stellar form from last year's finals series, booting eight goals in his side's 20.9 (129) to 7.11 (53) victory.
For Redan, it was simply a case of being outclassed across the ground, both in size and skill.
With a number of key players out of action, including Ryan Waight, Ash Barker, Jarrett Giampaolo, Brett Dickinson, Leigh Ryall, Mitch Phelps and Dean Chester, it was always going to be difficult for the Lions.
Fielding one of its youngest ever sides, the maroon and gold took it to the reigning premiers early, with stand-in skipper Grant Bell especially prominent early.
But the overall class of the Northies was simply too much, with precision kicking and seamless transition the difference for the day.
Jarrod Edwards was effective without being outstanding, while Ayden George staked a genuine claim for best on ground, also chipping in with three goals.
However, the biggest result for the day was undoubtedly Sunbury knocking off Darley.
In a massive upset, the Sunbury side that most people thought would struggle after an off-season mass exodus, upset the highly touted Devils to win 14.8 (92) to 12.6 (78).
Leading at every change bar quarter time, the Eastern Lions took a four point advantage into the final term, before kicking away to win by 14 points.
Elsewhere, Lake Wendouree got off to a flyer for 2014, destroying East Point by 64 points.
Recruit Lucas Anderson booted six majors for the Lakers in arguably a best on ground performance, while Lincoln Barnes was also dominant.
The final scoreboard read Lake Wendouree 17.11 (113) to East Point 6.13 (49).
In the remaining matches, Melton did as expecting in beating Sebastopol by 70 points, while Ballarat were also comfortable winners over Melton South, winning by 55 points.