CALDER Cannons kickstarted their TAC Cup season with an early goal blitz as they beat the Northern Knights by 24 points at Princes Park on Sunday.
After blowing the Knights away with a five goals to none opening term, Calder held on to the lead to win 16.5 (101) to 11.11 (77).
Pascoe Vale's Jesse Boyd led the way with a bag of five goals for the Cannons while overage player Jack Sheahan, defender Lachlan Plowman and Strathmore product Darcy Bailey were among the better players.
Knights key forward Cameron Conlon showed his marking strength inside forward 50m through the match and pulled the margin back to 13 points with his fourth goal of the day, midway through the final term.
But a banana goal under pressure from Aberfeldie product Josh Ojamiren restored a 19-point lead which Calder extended by the final siren.
Centre-square domination was the key to Calder racing to its 5.1 (31) to 0.3 (3) lead at the first change, with Boyd the main target up front.
The Knights would chip away at the deficit in the next two quarters, closing to within 18 points at three-quarter-time.
But Calder's scoring power won out, with O'Rourke kicking three goals while Sam Gemmill and Maribyrnong Park's Rory Atkins booted two each.
Cannons coach Martin Allison was pleased with the step-up in intensity.
"We had a practice game last week against the Western Jets where we were less than intense around the ball," he said.
"I was really impressed with the way they took to the challenge of improving to win the contested ball, and that work was critical at the end.
"When we were challenged I was really impressed that we actually responded and came back."
Other listed best for the Cannons were Omar Abdallah, Daniel Ratcliffe and Jayden Walker, while single goalkickers were Walker, Ojamiren, Bailey and Jake Brown.
Calder plays Sandringham Dragons at Highgate Reserve, Craigieburn, starting 3pm on Sunday.
- with Teo Pellizzeri