On a perfect day for round 1, it was the 2018 wooden spooners against undoubtedly this season's red hot premiership favourites.
The Magpies showed a few glimpses and some improvement. Despite that improvement, an 11 goal second term blew the game apart and McLaren ended up winners by 77 points.
The opening term was hot as both teams crashed in and wanted to make their mark early. Marsh in his first appearance as a Magpie didn't lose a tap early and despite no R Griffen or Stoldt, the Magpies midfield really got on top and kept the ball in their forward half.
Multiple goals to Helbig and it was clearly the Magpies with the upper hand. As the quarter wore on the experience of Ellis and Gill was really noticeable. They were able to win the ball and move it to their outside speed in the likes of Vandeleur and Matthews. Ellison was able to get a goal, his first as an Eagle. At quarter time, a good game of footy and a small lead of two points to McLaren.
The second term was a whitewash. The Eagles ran riot with plenty of run and carry through the mids, wings and half back. Despite Marsh continuing to win taps, it was one way traffic as the young Magpies floundered.
Ellis' class was noticeable and everyone lined up to have a go. The Magpies could only manage two points, while McLaren piled on 11 goals and 2 behinds in an extremely impressive showing. McLaren led by 68 points at the long break.
It was at this point last year that the Magpies really let things unravel and it was certainly looking like going that way in the second half, but the first 3 goals to the home side, saw a spark. Helbig got his third, while Fox and Robinson chipped in and they had dragged the margin back to 49 points.
The Eagles still looked good going forward as Marr provided a target and Zohar, with plenty of assistance was able to minimise the impact of Godwin-Knott. Payne was having a good game for the Pies and the home side bounced back to win the third term. It was still McLaren by 10 goals at three quarter time.
The final term was a formality as McLaren kicked 4-2 to Goolwa/Port Elliot's 2-1.
Both teams will see some handy inclusions moving forward so there is optimism for the Magpies and of course a huge upside for McLaren.
The Eagles were too good in this round one clash and ran out winners by 77 points. Ellis was clear best for the visitors. He was joined by Gill who, like Ellis, really showed composure. Most impressive for McLaren was their leg speed. Hopkins, Vandeluer, Matthews, Matthews and Gregory certainly have the ability to run sides off their feet. For the home side, excellent debuts from Helbig and Marsh, while Logan Payne is showing real good signs. Jack Casey was solid at half back and Fox was very solid despite a tough week.