Sandringham extended their lead at every break to record a commanding victory over the Eastern Ranges at Trevor Barker Oval on Saturday afternoon.
The Dragons won the midfield battle, led by a tenacious and typically composed Finn Callaghan, controlled the territory and applied more pressure in a 12.11 83 to 5.5 35 win.
Ollie Lowe and Charlie McKay registered majors in the first quarter but a six-point quarter time lead belied Sandringham’s authority on the game.
Shallow forward-50 entries and poor aerial presence limited their reward on the scoreboard.
Coach Jackson Kornberg put the onus on the key-position players at quarter time to be more potent in marking contests.
“We were being outmarked and Eastern took quite a lot of contested marks throughout the game and I thought we neutralised that after quarter time,” Kornberg said.
And they delivered.
Luke Cleary, in particular, stepped-up, impenetrable in defence with a slew of intercept marks, supported by fellow defenders Michael Lewis and Jesse Caston.
A Cleary tackle in defence saw Ben Mansfield kick one of his two second quarter goals off a quick forward thrust.
Their increased aerial presence allowed Sandringham to retain the lead throughout the quarter, but a Ranges goal after the halftime siren kept the visitors within 17 points.
A six-goal-to-two second half gave Sandringham the scoreboard ascendancy they deserved.
Repeat inside 50s for Sandy off the back of fast ball movement was the story of the third quarter as they kept Eastern scoreless.
Dangerous as ever in the forward line was Eren Soylemez, who converted the first of the quarter.
Dante Visentini then converted a set shot, rewarding him for his competitiveness and attack, before two goals to second-gamer Harry Sheezel piled-on the dominance later in the game.
Kornberg threw around the magnets throughout the match, with midfielders Finn Callaghan, Darby Hipwell and Lachie Benton playing forward at different times, while usual forward Blake Howes was trialled on a wing.
Second gamer Mansfield was a constant in the midfield, winning plenty of the ball and having an influence at contests, impressing Kornberg.
“Ben was given some things he had to work on around his offensive transition and I think he really showed that today and his stoppage work was really impressive.”
Kornberg was impressed by the way Sandy returned to training last Friday after a three-week break due to government restrictions.
“We spoke to the group about having a real belief in their strengths and what our team looks like when we do what we want to do.
“I think throughout the week the main focus was the energy and enthusiasm – these boys haven’t seen each other for three weeks so to catch up and play footy was the best thing about it.”
“I think the boys near on camped outside the oval waiting for the game today, they were so excited so it’s great to be back.”
After defeating them in a tight round one contest, the Dragons will again play Oakleigh from 10.45 on Saturday at RSEA Park.
Sandringham Dragons: 2.2 – 6.4 – 9.9 – 12.11 83
Eastern Ranges: 1.2 – 3.5 – 3.5 – 5.5 35
Best Players: Finn Callaghan, Lachie Benton, Luke Cleary, Ben Mansfield, Michael Lewis, Blake Howes
Goalkickers: Eren Soylemez 3, Ben Mansfield 2, Harry Sheezel 2, Ollie Lowe, Charlie McKay, Dante Visentini, Max Heath, Blake Howes.