One is touted as a premiership favourite, while the other crashed the reigning premiers’ homecoming party — now South Bunbury and Busselton meet to establish an early South West Football League pecking order. The Tigers blew Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault away with a stunning midfield display, led by Hayward medallists and club debutants Jace Cormack and Jesse Crichton. The piercing ball use of Chris Atthowe and former West Coast Eagles-listed player Tom Gorter off half-back was also a feature for the Tigers, who transitioned the ball with ease and style after half-time. It was a display which quelled any concerns over how that midfield might operate as a unit and put the rest of the league on notice. After a second devastating grand final loss in as many years, and the Manjimup-based trio of Kester Decke, Austin Styles and Jaxon East returning to their home clubs, the Magpies held Augusta-Margaret River to just one goal in the first three quarters on their way to a 21-point upset win. It was a new-look side, with Jed Kemp and Beau Chinnery returning after playing mostly reserves last season. At either end of the ground on Saturday night will be two of the league’s best sets of hands. Tigers coach Julian Burgess said high-marking linchpin Jordan Strahan took on a lead role in a shorter forward-line on Saturday, while a purple patch towards the end of last season shot Busselton’s Liam Creighton into the upper echelon of forwards in the competition. Former skipper Jackson Arbon, who was among his side’s best against the Hawks, and midfield gun Mitch Tenardi will face the uphill task of taming the Tigers’ midfield. With Tenardi likely to run off opponents, rather than be directly accountable to them, his duel with Crichton could shape the midfield battle. Strahan kicked five goals and marked the ball cleanly against the Lions on Saturday night, while Creighton started his season with a goalless afternoon against the Hawks. But the pair will have a significant say on their team’s fate this weekend. Burgess said without Cody Nelson, who left the club in the off-season, the Tigers gave Strahan “as much space as we can”. A Busselton home game, the Tigers will travel to Sir Stewart Bovell Park for the first time since the Magpies, led by Creighton, bundled them out of last year’s finals series. Burgess’ side is also set to be boosted by the return of young midfielder Ethan Nordahl, who missed their round one clash with COVID.