From Preston Leader
Reported by Brittany Shanahan
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NORTHERN Blues opened their 2012 Victorian Football League account with a 100-point thumping of an undermanned Bendigo at Queen Elizabeth Oval on Saturday.

The Blues dominated with Bendigo restricted to a limited resource of Essendon players due to the AFL affiliate's Anzac Day clash with Collingwood.

Former Williamstown goal-kicking gun Matthew Little was well held by in-form Blues defender Matthew Watson, the Bendigo forward converting just two goals.

David Ellard was sensational in the win, while Nick Heyne drew praise from coach Robert Hyde.

"That was the best gave I've seen him play," he said.

Hyde was relieved to get a win afterwards.

"I just think we have been so close the last couple of weeks," he said.

"They didn't have too many to pick from, but apart from that to win by 100 points shows we got the job done.

"We had 85 tackles and setup our forward line a bit better.

"We hadn't been able to kick more than 12 goals, so to kick 22 meant that some of the stuff we're trying to do worked a little bit better anyway."

Adam Marcon was terrific again for the winners, while Robert Warnock's output mirrored his enormous frame and AFL selection for the big man won't be far away.

"Big Robbie Warnock in the ruck had 50-something hit-outs," Hyde said.

"He is gradually coming back from shoulder surgery so every time he plays he would push for selection at the top I would imagine."

A big test awaits Northern Blues this weekend, away to Port Melbourne at North Port Oval on Saturday (2pm).

The Borough will be aiming for their 27th successive win, but Hyde, while respectful of the winning streak, says a loss for Port might not be far off.

"I think they're a super team to not lose a game for 26 games is a magnificent effort, but you never know, one day they've got to lose one I reckon," he said.

Hyde added the Blues had achieved a key performance indicator at the weekend with regards to tackles, which would help his side against Port Melbourne.

"We had an emphasis on tackling this week. To get 86 tackles was exactly where we want to be," he said.

"If we can maintain that it will make us competitive next week."