Ainslie 17.8 (110) bt Eastlake 10.8 (68)
NEAFL: Ainslie v Eastlake
Ainslie player Jeremy Hirst, right. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Ainslie coach Chris Rourke is happy with his start to the NEAFL season, but he knows there are tough times ahead when the Tricolours start facing the AFL reserves teams.
The Tricolours proved too match-hardened for Eastlake, running away with the game after half-time to win 17.8 (110) to 10.8 (68) at Alan Ray Oval on Sunday.
They remain the only Canberra club to win a game this season, following Queanbeyan's earlier huge loss to the Swans reserves, 26.11 (167) to 3.12 (30), in Sydney.
Former Port Power forward Nick Salter kicked five goals, while captain Rob Tuohey and midfielder Aaron Vandenberg both chipped in with three.
Mitch Frail, returning from a back injury, kicked three to be Eastlake's leading goalkicker.
Ainslie lost Ian Lawless (hamstring) before the game, while defender Lachie Highfield (concussion) was forced off following a head clash.
Rourke watched the Giants on Saturday and said they had five players taller than 200 centimetres.
"The Giants are the land of the Giants, they're huge," Rourke said.
"It's pretty scary knowing what's coming up ahead with the Swans and GWS, they're both obviously very good sides."
With man-mountain Matthew Channon joining Eastlake from Tuggeranong, Chad Gibson (two goals) has switched to onball.
He said some of teammates had a "bit of a shock" in their first game, struggling to cope with Ainslie's match fitness.
Gibson said it would take a few weeks for Eastlake to gel, but was confident they would start to be a force as the season wore on.
Captain John Van Meurs and Xavier McMahon were solid down back for Eastlake, while Ainslie's best and fairest was Vandenberg, who showed his class through the middle.
Ash Harris also got plenty of ball for the Tricolours.
"It was the first game for us and you can't really practice actual match fitness, [it was] a bit of a shock to the body for a few of the boys I'm sure," Gibson said.
"We highlighted a couple of decisions and plays where we let ourselves down and once we get that right we'll definitely be a force to be reckoned with."
While Ainslie have the bye, Queanbeyan will play Belconnen this weekend, while Eastlake travel to face Sydney Uni.
NEAFL ROUND THREE
Sydney Swans 6.7 12.8 19.11 26.11 (167)
Queanbeyan 0.0 1.2 3.5 3.12 (30)
Goals - Swans: T. Membrey 8, J. Hiscox 3, L. Perris 2, D. Robinson 2, H. Marsh 2, M. Dick 2, J. Lloyd 2, D. Preen , P. Mitchell , M. Vicic , S. Naismith , T. McCaffrey; Queanbeyan: Queanbeyan: B. Fulford 3.
Best - Swans: T. Membrey, C. Bird, J. Lloyd, H. Marsh, M. Dick, A. Aliir; Queanbeyan: J. Bryce, J. Atkinson, J. Robinson, H. Kelly, K. Klemke, B. Fulford.
Ainslie 5.1 9.4 13.6 17.8 (110)
Eastlake 4.2 6.3 7.5 10.8 (68)
Goals - Ainslie: N. Salter 5, A. Vandenberg 3, R. Tuohey 3, J. Costigan , E. Stone , C. Barrie , A. Harris , S. Ellis , N. Heyne; Eastlake: M. Frail 3, C. Gibson 2, A. Bruce , J. Moody , M. Denham , D. Ryall , S. Darcy.
Best - Ainslie: A. Harris, N. Heyne, S. Ellis, A. Vandenberg, N. Salter, C. Bernasconi; Eastlake: S. Darcy, K. Mahon, J. Moody, J. Bohm, M. Denham, B. Cleaver.
LADDER: Southport 12 points, NT Thunder 12, Redland 8, Sydney Swans 8, Sydney University 8, GWS Giants 8, Ainslie 8, Aspley 4, Brisbane Lions 4, Sydney Hills Eagles 0, Eastlake 0, Gold Coast Suns 0, Queanbeyan 0, Belconnen 0.