IT HAD been more than a year since the CQ Cougars had recorded a win but in 45 glorious minutes all that was forgotten.
Bundaberg Spirit came to Jardine Park confident with a strengthened line-up and expectations of doing well in the 2012 QSL but went in at half-time with heads down after being blitzed by the Cougars to the tune of 5-1.
It was a performance to savour for the success-starved home supporters, who rarely saw the team score a goal, never mind strike five in a single half.
The only blemish on an otherwise perfect start to the campaign was not going on with the job and in the end settling for a 5-3 victory.
Sander Waterland was making his debut in the QSL and celebrated with a spectacular hat-trick, while fullback Rudi Mozr also made his debut memorable with a goal, while Jordan Miller gave himself an 18th birthday present by scoring too.
Admittedly Spirit played a part in their own demise by attacking in large numbers without safeguards for stopping Cougars speedsters from playing havoc on the counter-attack.
There was not a poor display in the Cougars side despite the Bundaberg goals coming from errors.
The final goal from Spirit came when a hopefully lofted free kick was taken by keeper Tim English, who then appeared to be bundled off the ball, with Matthew Mills hitting the loose ball home.
Coach Joe Fenech said the incident resulted in English being hospitalised after the match.
But it was the goals of the Cougars that had the crowd showing their appreciation.
Waterland's first was a gem as he slid on to a long cross from the left to find the net. The second showed the predator instincts of Miller as the Cougars pounced on a Spirit mistake before Miller calmly slotted the ball home.
The pace of Jarod Lancaster created the third. His low cross across the face of the Spirit goal found Mozr, who hit it home like a seasoned striker rather than a wing-back.
Waterland's second was a great individual effort as he ran diagonally towards the right, beating a defender and rounding the keeper to score.