The Harvey Brunswick Leschenault Lions have started their 2017 season with a win, claiming victory over the Busselton Magpies in a hard fought clash.
The Magpies were unable to capitalise on forward 50 entries throughout much of the match and went down to the Lions by 27 points.
The away side started fiercely with Brody Plozza kicking Busselton's first major in response to a quick goal from Lions vice captain Kristin Thornton who made the first mark on the scoreboard.
The former AFL player made an real impression on the game with a number of strong forward marks in the first term.
Magpies player Adam Dehring made his return to the South West Football League after a year with the Imperials in the Lower South West Football League and found plenty of the ball early.
Late in the first term, Lloyd Beever limped off the ground holding his knee, causing concern for the HBL bench. He played no further part in the game and will be checked out by a doctor during the week.
WATCH: HBL coach Derek Hall discuss Lloyd Beever’s injury.
Kale Triplett had the opportunity to give the home side a lead at quarter time, but was unable to make anything of his set shot on the siren, giving the Magpies a seven point advantage at the first change.
The Lions exploded out of the gates in the second term, scoring the first three goals thanks to magnificent efforts from Kale Triplett and co-captain David Newman.
A controversial travel call against Magpie Kobi Howell saw the away side miss a crucial opportunity to close the gap at half time with the board reading 6.5.41 to 5.6.36.
Former Brisbane Lion turned HBL Lion James Hawksley made his mark on the game in the second half applying unstoppable defensive pressure that led to more than a few scuffles between the sides.
Two quick goals from Thornton helped the Lions extend their lead at the final change to 21 points.
Some great teamwork from Busselton saw the Magpies look dangerous early in the fourth term, but great hanger marks from Brayden Hoskins and Tye Denton and defensive pressure from Matt Wellburn couldn’t be translated into the goals the Magpies desperately needed.
WATCH: Busselton coach Steve Lester give his take on the game.
Worse still, a number of costly turnovers from Busselton in their forward 50 meant the team just couldn't keep up with the accurate kicking and quick clearances of HBL.
The final siren saw the Lions claim victory 11.12.78 to 7.9.51.