It was a day of very mixed fortune for the Maitland Saints on Saturday as the men were hammered by Cardiff at the new Pasterfield Sports Complex and the ladies travelling to Port Stephens where they set a new club record win of 240 points.
In the Premier Division, a depleted Saints side took the field against a very classy Cardiff outfit who were looking for redemption after falling short of the grand final last year.
A competitive beginning by the Saints saw the game off to an even start for the first 15 minutes before a head clash forced gun recruit Jason Kennewell from the field and Cardiff put on three goals in three minutes.
Young forward Jai Rory took a strong mark and swung onto his right to kick an outstanding goal from outside 50m.
Cardiff immediately replied though to take a 40-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Kennewell returned to the field after a concussion test but the second term was all Cardiff with the wind.
Brandt Job opened with three quick goals before Izaac Hughes added to three first quarter goals with four in the second as Cardiff exerted their dominance.
The Saints, through Jason Adlington, Kennewell and Lee Nevin, battled hard for periods but gave up multiple goals in quick bursts as Cardiff ran away with the game.
Losing Luke Damico to a collarbone and Lee Nevin to concussion added to the woes on a day to forget for the Saints. After a promising first round effort against Newcastle City, coaches Stewart and Spriggs will have plenty to think about this week.
On the flip side, the Ladies dominated Port Stephens to the tune of 240-0, kicking a new club record along the way.
Coach Chris Pedler has opened the season with a defeat of last year's premiers followed by a massive win against an emerging side and will be under pressure to keep the bright start going.
The score of 36 goals 24 behinds is an indicator of great flow to the game as well as some more accurate than usual kicking and the Saints got home on the back of an overall even team effort.
It is an outstanding start to the season for a team that went within a kick of a grand final appearance last season.
In the Black Diamond Plate a gallant Saints side went down against a very strong Cardiff outfit by 44 points in a loss that was a gradual widening of the scores rather than a domination by the home side.
Returning and new players alike made their presence felt but none more so than club president Rob Eddy, who had a day out. He was ably supported by another returner in Ben Crowley and Nick McMahon was terrific through the centre as well.