IT WAS an 89-point mauling of Beaufort by Hepburn on Saturday and there was an inglorious premature end to the game.
Umpires stopped play 10 minutes into the final term after melees and a failed restart of the game.
The Crows’ first-round victory feeling against Dunnstown went down the gurgler as the Kookaburras ground down their opponents in the first term and left them scoreless in the second.
Injuries to Beaufort’s lineup hurt on the field. First-gamers Ben Newson and Chris Berry and Luke Hills from the reserves had their baptism of fire against a much better side.
There were some signs of Beaufort structures spluttering to life but the slick and powerful lines of the Hepburn team snuffed them out ruthlessly.
The third term was dominated by the Kookaburras, who put the foot down and smashed any resistance by the Crows to smithereens.
Hepburn kicked away with eight goals in the third as Beaufort limped to the last change with only two majors from the quarter.
The stage was set for a runaway scoring spree as Hepburn kicked two goals in the opening minutes of the final quarter.
Then a little niggle became a wrestle, and a few blows turned into a heated melee. Hepburn star Andy McKay was yellow-carded but things got worse.
McKay was still on the ground when umpires tried to restart play. Players had come from everywhere to fly the flag.
It was on. A rolling scrum in front of the Crows dugout divided into two and, making matters worse, players tried to tear players out of the maelstrom, inflaming the situation.
Both coaches bellowed at their players but it took several minutes for the turmoil to subside.
Former AFL star Glenn Manton copped a serve from the coaches and the footy fans.
The Crow player’s actions were described by Hepburn coach Clive Raak as “pretty ordinary for a bloke who’s played AFL football, to do what he did”.
Beaufort coach Dale Power highlighted “this is not the image ... we want the club to be represented by. I’m a bit shattered by that.”
The controversial end of play didn’t mar Hepburn’s achievements, and for one player, Brendan Sutcliffe, it marked an unforgettable 50-game milestone.
Best players for Hepburn were thick on the ground but new recruit Corey Taylor was all class.
And who couldn’t marvel at Segifilli Asa Leausa in defence and Andy and Brad McKay out of the centre.
But credit where credit is due, Kenny Cummings was on fire and a great mover of the ball.
For the Crows, ruckman Jake Garvey was solid all day, while Luke Hills, Chris Drew and Ash Williams tried to open up an avenue to goals.
After such a tumultuous day both coaches were brief.
Raak was happy with the win but critical of his players’ inaccuracy in front of goals. And Power said the task ahead of him was to build a stronger team.