Figtree Kangaroos showed the value of experience with a 10-goal victory over Port Kembla at Kully Bay Oval in Saturday's opening round of the South Coast AFL competition.
The Kangaroos, in only their third season in first grade, had too much firepower for the Blacks upon their return to the top grade with a 16.12 (108) to 7.6 (48) win.
"The effort was there all day; it just took a few quarters for the guys to listen to instructions," said Port coach Brad Yates, who coached Figtree last year.
"I did some very straight talking and [in the] fourth quarter we did what we were supposed to.
"It's going to take some time being back in first grade after being out for two seasons but there's plenty of talent to work with."
Port had four debutants but it was the experience of Figtree, and the class of key forward James Quinn, which proved the difference.
The Kangaroos were just outside the top four last year and will be among a group of teams believing they can play finals in 2014.
Meanwhile, Northern Districts Tigers showed they have plenty to offer this season with a four-point victory over 2012 and 2013 grand finalists Kiama.
The Tigers won 10.5 (65) to 8.13 (61) at Boronia Park.
Premiers Wollongong Bulldogs were too strong for Shellharbour in an 18.14 (122) to 3.2 (20) victory.
On Friday, Bomaderry opened the season with a 12.14 (86) to 2.3 (15) away win over Nowra Blues.
Albatross had the bye.
In this Saturday's round two, Figtree host Kiama, Wollongong play Albatross, Port Kembla welcome Bomaderry and Northern Districts will play host to Shellharbour.