SUPER SIX: Talking points out of Round 1 in AFL Mackay
WELCOME BACK TO SENIOR FOOTY BAKERS CREEK
BAKERS Creek made a statement in their return to the senior ranks with a 107-point demolition of an undermanned Mackay City Hawks at Etwell Park.
The Tigers overcame a slow start which saw them trail by five points at the first change, before booting 18 of the game's last 19 goals.
John Vagg, back from a spell at North Mackay, snagged seven majors and proved a constant thorn in the Hawks side.
He is a proven goalkicker and will need to be a trumpcard if Bakers Creek are to be a serious contender in 2019.
Bayden Matheson chipped in with four and keep an eye on fresh face Jordan Cullen.
My spies tell me Cullen is a smart player and he snagged three majors to illustrate why he may be one of the recruits of the season.
SAINTS GET BRAGGING RIGHTS OVER RIVALS
THE rivalry between North Mackay and Eastern Swans has always been a spicy one, and league officials pulled the right rein by scheduling a meeting between the clubs in round one.
Home comforts suited the Saints, who registered a comfortable enough 30-point win - 12.8 (80) to 7.8 (50).
North Mackay sprinted out of the blocks to lead by 29 points at the first change and never seriously looked like being beaten.
The reliable Jackson Perkins was in the thick of most of what was good for the Saints, who welcomed back Sam Dunbar.
Dunbar, who booted 22 goals in 16 games in 2017, snagged a couple of goals for North Mackay and will be a valuable addition in attack for the Saints.
FINALS NOT OUT OF THE QUESTION FOR SEA EAGLES
THE Sea Eagles had been tipped by many to struggle following the mass exodus of premiership stars from Whitsunday Sportspark.
Replacing players the ilk of Mitch Bell, Regan Williams, Cooper Barber, Jake Hare et al is a near impossible task.
Whitsunday is in a rebuilding phase and looks to have the right man at the helm in Ian Hodges, an experienced coach, who knows all about the highs and lows that football can provide.
But that doesn't mean they will crash from top to bottom.
The decision to not field a reserves side will save the headache of players doubling up and ensure a clear focus at senior level.
It looks the right time for the Sea Eagles to benefit from their hard work at junior level with talents such as Jayden Clark and Lachlan Draper ready to shine at senior level.
Clark starred with five goals in Saturday's 51-point loss to Mackay Magpies and despite the wide margin at the finish, Whitsunday showed enough to suggest they will not be easybeats.
SWANS WON'T HIT THE PANIC BUTTON
ALTHOUGH as disappointed as they would be to open with a loss, Eastern Swans won't be hitting the panic button just yet.
In their first game under new coach Graham 'Bomber' Adams, the Swans were jumped early and could not play catch-up.
The loss of George Hannaford, not only their coach, but premier ball-winner from last year, will take time to cover.
And consider the fact the Swans did have a few handy players unavailable due to cricket commitments.
Sam Lyons snagged three goals for the boys in red and white in a losing cause.
MUGGSY BOBS UP TO INSPIRE MAGPIES
A long time ago this writer coached the Eastern Swans Under-15 team who landed premiership success.
One of our leading lights was a cheeky midfielder named Heath Thiele, better known to his team-mates as Muggsy.
Now I'm not sure nearly two decades later whether he still has the nickname (my guess is yes), but it was good to see Heath not only still playing footy, but starring at senior level.
He booted four goals and proved one of the prime movers for the Mackay Magpies in their 51-point win against Whitsunday Sea Eagles.
The Magpies overcame a sluggish first-half to boot 12 of the game's last 15 goals and power away to the 16.16 (112) to 9.7 (61) success.
FOCUS TURNS TO ROUND 2
After the lengthy build-up to the new season, Round 2 always comes around quick.
Most attention centres on the return of Moranbah to the senior ranks as the Bulldogs host North Mackay.
Eastern Swans host Mackay Magpies at Rogers Oval, while Whitsunday Sea Eagles welcome the resurgent Bakers Creek.
Mackay City Hawks have the bye.
John Vagg (Bakers Creek) 7
Jayden Clark (Whitsunday Sea Eagles) 5
Bayden Matheson (Bakers Creek) 4
Heath Thiele (Mackay Magpies) 4
Brandon Ross (Mackay Magpies) 3
Jordan Cullen (Bakers Creek) 3
Sam Lyons (Eastern Swans) 3
ABOUT THE WRITER
REGIONAL editor Gregor Mactaggart boasts more than 15 years in the newspaper industry, highlighted by spells as sports editor of the Shepparton News, senior sports reporter at the NT News and editor of The Guardian in Swan Hill before moving to the Whitsundays in June 2018.
He played senior football in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
His association with AFL Mackay began nearly two decades ago when he spent a season with Eastern Swans and coached the club's Under-15 team to premiership success.
Winner of the 2006 Gladstone Mudcrabs senior best and fairest, he also won two players' player awards at the Glenmore Bulls and was vice-captain of the Rockhampton District representative team.