Ainslie have started their 2015 pre-season campaign with a dominant 38-point victory over a fiery Lavington Panthers outfit at Alan Ray Oval today.
The Panthers tested the home side early on, skipping out to an early lead, before the Tricolours outclassed their opposition to run out 13.7 (85) to 7.6 (48) in front of a healthy home crowd.
New recruit Damian Williams starred across the half forward line in his Ainslie debut, getting his name on the scoresheet before limping off with an ankle injury in the final quarter.
“I was really excited,” said the former NT Thunder star.
“The first quarter I felt a bit nervous and I was a bit hesitant. In the second quarter that was out of the way and I had a few good opportunities.
The ankle is fine, got a bit of a fright, I thought I sprained it… a bit of ice and it’ll be fine by Monday.”
Josh Maynard worked tirelessly in the ruck and became the launching pad for Lachlan Carter to run riot in the midfield, whilst returning forward Josh Bennett showed what a valuable addition he is to the line-up, booting three goals.
It was the visitors that struck first through two early goals from Nick Molkentin, before a holding the ball call went in favour of the hosts, allowing them to snatch back the momentum.
An undermanned Ainslie side proceeded to dominate possession for the rest of the quarter and go in to the break with a six-point lead.
Williams found his feet in the second term, laying on a goal for Dale Walker before a piece of individual brilliance almost brought another.
Late goals from Bennett and Williams allowed the hosts to push out to a three goal lead heading in to the second half, giving coach Chris Rourke the opportunity to rotate his line-up for the remainder of the game.
Ainslie started the third term with an inexperienced backline, but the Panthers failed to make the most it, kicking three consecutive behinds before Ainslie took back the ascendancy.
Ainslie extended their lead in a dominant second-half, leaving Maynard satisfied with the side’s first win for the year.
“It really started with our midfield. It was a good hit out… [we] really came together.”