Round one of the men's Premier League Hockey season turned into the Brandon Horner show as the Lithgow Panthers star slotted home six goals in just three quarters, and had a hand in two others, as Orange Wanderers' season started in the worst possible way with a 10-0 loss.
Horner was a magnet up forward and scored effortlessly, banging home two goals in each of the first three quarters before sitting out the final stanza to prepare for another game in Sydney on Saturday night.
The visiting Panthers side was all over the hosts from the start and with a 3-0 opening term Wanderers never looked like finding their way back into the contest.
That immediate pressure meant passes were missed or players were simply unable to trap the ball and Panthers continued to make the Orange side pay, with Horner simply unstoppable and fellow gun Taylor Dolbel scoring a hat-trick as well.
VIDEO: Orange Wanderers defend a corner against Lithgow Panthers:
Wanderers coach Mark Pengilly said it was a "pretty disappointing" way to start the season.
"I thought we would have gone better than that," he said.
"That said, Lithgow showed more intensity than we did and wanted the ball more."
He said Panthers' hunger for the ball and their intensity was one of biggest differences between the sides.
Everyone dug deep, everyone scrambled deep in defence and it was quite structured, we didn't allow them to get into the circle.Panthers skipper Nic Milne
"That pressure made us turn the ball over, that was the most frustrating part ... [it] made us turn the ball over too easy and then we played catch-up and didn't control the ball, which is what we need to do," Pengilly said.
"When we control the ball we're a lot better side than what we showed there today.
"The basics let us down, that pressure made us mis-trap that ball which you can't afford to do at that level."
He said Horner was nearly unstoppable, and was "a class above" everyone else on the field.
"Guys like Brandon Horner you give them an inch and they'll take a mile and he was the difference today, he's a class above with his goal-scoring," Pengilly said.
Panthers skipper Nic Milne was understandably thrilled with the result in his side's season-opener.
He lauded the efforts of his six-goal striker but was more impressed at the team's performance across the whole pitch, including several young players such as Lachie Wilson.
"You get him the ball in the circle and he'll score," Milne said of Horner.
"We're a very young side this year so trying to build for the next couple of years.
"Everyone dug deep, everyone scrambled deep in defence and it was quite structured, we didn't allow them to get into the circle.
"If we can put pressure on them at the front and out to the defence it pans out from there."
- LITHGOW PANTHERS 10 (Brandon Horner 6, Taylor Dolbel 3, Greg Nelson 1) def ORANGE WANDERERS 0
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