Champs hit six for starters

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Shelf FC launched their Haslem-Sheppard Halifax AFL title defence in impressive fashion with a 6-1 home win over Ryburn United on Friday evening.

Two goals from Sam Henderson were followed by four from Alex O’Keefe as Shelf emerged handsome winners in cool, blustery conditions at Westwood Park.

Henderson gave Shelf an early lead in the battle of last season’s top two and added a second following an errant defensive header on 25 minutes.

When O’Keefe went into a 50-50 challenge with the visiting keeper and the ball broke into the net 10 minutes later, the home side were firmly in command.

Ryburn changed their system and upper their game after the break and Joe Swallow’s first-time strike from 20 yards gave them hope of a comeback.

However, O’Keefe’s second on 73 minutes settled matters. The striker completed his hat-trick with a no-nonsense spot kick following a foul and added Shelf’s sixth in the closing seconds.

Centre back Andy Hawker was outstanding for Shelf while Ewan Gardiner and Callum Lewis also caught the eye.

Shelf boss Matthew Till said: “The result was great but you could tell it was the first game of the season.

“We were a bit laboured in parts but there were lots of positives.”