The Woodsmen braved the Friday night M1 traffic to take on the newly formed Ormeau Bulldogs in a scrappy affair played in intermittent rain before the heavens opened in a dour last quarter.
The Woodsmen knew a good start was important against a fired up Bulldogs side proud to pull on their jumper for the first time in front of a big Friday night crowd on a perfectly presented playing surface and bright new lights!
Setting the tone from the opening bounce, Thomson won a clear tap, straight to McClennan who then hit Moore on a chest with a bullet like pass. Sadly, the game went downhill from there!
After that bright start, the Woodies dominated possession to go into quarter time with a 3.2 - 20 to 0.1 - 1 lead after goals from Woods, Moore and McDonald got the ball rolling, but weren't able to finish off their good work, with Ormeau only registering one inside 50 for the quarter.
The rain began to fall in the second quarter and Ormeau played a strong contested brand of footy to frustrate the Woodies, dropping players back deep in defence and resisting the constant attacks with hard contests and great tackling pressure, while skill errors through the middle of the ground were letting the Woodies down.
Kicking 1.3 for the quarter and missing several other set shots, the Woodies were struggling for momentum and knew they were in for a fight. A late goal from a 50m penalty to the Bulldogs left the half time margin at 22 points.
With 6 new players to the side, the Woodies were trying to build some continuity but just couldn't put it together - and while never seriously threatened, the 2nd half was a decidedly scrappy affair with the Woodies outscored 1.6 to 2.3 and eventually running out winners by 19 points.
The Woodies will be at home against Morningside in Round 2, and will be looking for a much more cohesive performance in front of a home crowd.
Woodsmen 5.11 - 41 defeated Ormeau Bulldogs 3.4 - 22
Best: Woods, Barkley, Eaton, Moore, Mudge, Green
Goals: Moore, Woods 2, McDonald 1