Gungahlin United have fired a warning shot to their Capital Football Premier League rivals after thrashing the West Canberra Wanderers in their season opener.
The victors were in control from start to finish to secure a 4-1 win over the rebadged Wanderers at Melrose Synthetic Oval on Saturday.
Gungahlin are looking to avenge last year's grand final heartbreak and goalkeeper Joshua Lagudah is determined to put the league on notice as they strive to go one step further.
"I think we're definitely a top four team" Lagudah said.
"Of course, we always want to win so we will go for it. But a good start, we don't want to let in any goals [though].
"We've been working on pressing. The team is really fit, full of young boys who are just keen to run which is good.
"It was a bit patchy but in places it was really good."
Lagudah controlled the tempo from the back through both his near-impenetrable brick wall defence and ability to create counter-attacking opportunities.
Yet the Gungahlin goalkeeper found himself in hot water minutes before half-time when he was shown a yellow card for a handball outside the box which ultimately robbed the Wanderers of a goal scoring opportunity.
West Canberra players rallied for the referee to send Lagudah off but he escaped with a yellow card following a lengthy discussion between match officials.
A 20-minute blitz to start the game had given Gungahlin a two-goal advantage but the Wanderers battled back through Lachlan Fields' astonishing strike to make it 2-1 with 30 minutes left.
However, the visitors rallied home to score two more goals through captain Jack Green and Moses Garang, leaving West Canberra striker Juan Ospina-Colorado to rue opportunities that went to waste.
"We have to improve. We have to be harder in every challenge and we need to keep working in the way we attack," Ospina-Colorado said.
"We have to be hungrier."
AT A GLANCE
Capital Football Premier League round one: GUNGAHLIN UNITED 4 (Anderson, Thornton (OG), Green, Garang goals) bt WEST CANBERRA WANDERERS 1 (Fields goal) at Melrose Synthetic Oval.
Sunday: Tuggeranong United v Belconnen United at Kambah; Cooma Tigers v Canberra Croatia at Nijong Oval. Both games at 3pm.