Eltham coach Tim Bongetti told his players they had the opportunity to end the club’s six-year wait for a NFNL Division 1 victory.

Not since Round 18, 2017, against Whittlesea had the Panthers sung the song after a top-flight match, until Saturday, when they claimed a 14-point win over Macleod at DeWinton Reserve.

After defeats in the opening two rounds, it is also Eltham’s first win since last season’s premiership triumph.

Not even the half-time injection of Kangas favourite son Michael Hurley could stop the visitors taking four points, 14.6 (90) to 11.10 (76).

Bongetti’s side burst out of the blocks with a four-goal opening quarter to take a eight-point lead.

“I knew we could change history, we had the opportunity,” Bongetti said.

“The 22 players, I told them, they had an opportunity to change the last time this club won in Division 1 and no one else can do it.

“I think they really responded, we focused on the first seven minutes because in the last two games we’ve given up goals and been on the back foot.

“We had a feeling going in that we’d played a couple of good games … so we built it up, we’re playing well and this is a gettable game.”

Eltham extended the lead to 14 points at half-time before Macleod hit back with the arrival of Hurley at half-time.

While the former Essendon gun didn’t register a goal, the Kangas booted five majors to get back within a point at the final change.

Mackenzie Hogg would hit the post in the opening minutes of the final term to level the scores but the Panthers finished the stronger, booting four goals to two.

Jesse Donaldson was named Eltham’s best in the win, while Colm Culligan (two goals) impressed and Declan Ayres had the unenviable task of stopping Darcy Barden and then Hurley.

Matt Byron booted two goals in a wild afternoon.

The key forward dislocated his finger in the first quarter, kicking the goal before being forced to go to hospital to get it put back in place, he returned in the second quarter but then suffered a broken nose in the final term.

For Macleod, Darcy Hogg was outstanding, while Will Tsitsis, Zach Hudson and Barden stood tall.

Bongetti had only praise for Macleod and coach Craig Hayes.

“Knowing Hurls had VFL duties, credit to Hayesy to pull the trigger and play him knowing he’d come in at half-time,” Bongetti said.

“In the third we came out knowing a big-name had just rolled onto the ground, we had a preconceived plan, and Declan had been playing well on Darcy Barden and went to Hurley and kept him quiet.

“Hayesy coached really well, he threw some things at us that made our bench think on our feet, they had loose blokes behind the ball left, right and centre and we had to figure things out.

“Darcy Hogg, credit where credit’s due, he was great, we even focused on him around stoppages but he just kept finding the ball and wheeling onto the right foot.”

After securing an all-important first win for the season, Eltham now faces the difficult challenge of hosting Montmorency.

The Magpies were left devastated after a one-point loss to Heidelberg on Saturday night and Bongetti is expecting a strong reaction.

“It’s devastating for them so we know they’ll be coming out hungry to get a W,” he said.

“We’ll let the shackles off I think and just let the boys play footy and compete to the fullest.

“We said in pre-season we wanted to rattle some cages and send a message that we’re here to stay up and these are the types of days we have a crack at doing that.”