The Bullsbrook Saints headed up the hill to take on the Chidlow Cougars as the temperature soared to near 35C.
The game was always going to be a tough encounter for the Saints, facing up against last year’s grand final runners-up.
The first quarter began at a cracking pace and the Cougars got the early jump, breaking away to a handy lead at quarter time.
Not all was negative for the Saints though as some good passages of football were coming together.
The second quarter was a closer fought contest, with the Saints controlling their fair share of the play. However, they were unable to finish off the good work by putting the score on the board.
In the second half, as the heat began to take its toll on the bigger Bullsbrook bodies, the Cougars took full advantage and skipped away to win convincingly in the end.
To Chidlow’s credit, they played the game well in the absence of their goal-kicking juggernaut Adam McKinlay, who booted a record-breaking 165 goals last season.
Clinton Farrell was named best afield for the victors.
Chidlow will now go into next week’s grand final replay with Gidgegannup confident it can avenge its 14-point loss to the Bulldogs in the final game of 2013.
It was not all doom and gloom for the Saints as much as the scoreboard indicated.
Young Mitch Berry and Daniel Bishop showed promising signs through the middle of the ground and another newcomer, Jonas Mattingley, showed poise and dash from the backline.
Chevy Anderson dominated the ruck all day.
Final scores were Chidlow 28.10-178 to Bullsbrook 3.4-22.
In other games, Mt Helena showed it had recruited well in the off season and could be a big improver with a 157-point win over an undermanned Wundowie.
The Lions, which won just five games from 17 appearances last season, booted six goals in the first term followed by totals of eight, six and five. The goal scorers were spread across 13 players.