OFF-SEASON recruiting by many clubs seemed to indicate that the gap between top and bottom teams in the Heathcote District Football Netball League would be much less apparent this year.
However, it appearing nothing could be further from the truth after Leitchville/Gunbower's 176-point demolition of Heathcote at Leitchville on Saturday.
With new recruit Russel De Groot leading the way from the first bounce, the Bombers did pretty much as they pleased against a Saints outfit that was missing four of their top players.
Those absentees would not have materially affected the outcome but at least the level of resistance may have increased.
At times, particualry in the second half, the hosts looked to be conducting a training drill. Matt Perri kicked six goals in the third term alone and 11 for the match, with inaccurate kicking denying him a shot at Ian Bruns' 16-goal record, set in 1975.
With the delivery available from a midfield containing the likes of Liam Guinan, Jack Gleeson, Matt Ladson and Matt Pollock, the star forward may eclipse the mark sooner than later.
Alongside Perri, the Bombers have unearthed the perfect foil in Jake Vandongen.
With five goals to the big forward through good leads and bustling body work, Vandongen provides the alternative avenue to goal that will be all important against the better sides.
Daniel Coates (three goals) and Mitch Bruns had been prominent in getting the hosts away to a good start, keeping the Saints goalless to lead by 37 points at quarter time.
Much the same followed in the second term, although the Saints managed a goal due to a rare lapse in concentration from the Bomber defence.
Obviously stung by this incursion into the scoring zone, the Bomber defence tightened with Brad Ladson and Shaun Turvey leading the way, restricting the struggling Saints to a solitary point after half time.
Tim Lincoln gathered plenty of the ball, as did youngster Mitch McEwen, giving Perri and Vandongen good delivery.
The Bombers attacked relentlessly, outscoring Heathcote by 97 points to one for the second half
It made for tough viewing and indeed the crowd appeared to thin out noticeably as the game wore on, with the Bombers strangling the life out of their opponents.
Coach Michael Pilcher tinkered with his line-up as the game progressed and it is apparent that the Bombers have yet to fully click into gear.
This weekend presents a much sterner test against Colbinabbin, who have recruited hard to cover some deficiencies in an already strong line-up.