Scott Boland's early return from India could barely have worked better for Victoria in their must-win final-round Sheffield Shield match against Western Australia in Perth.
Fast bowler Boland, who only arrived from the Test tour of India on Monday, picked up four wickets as the usually free-scoring WA batsmen were skittled for just 122 off 61 overs .
In reply, Victoria advanced to 2-71 at stumps.
Opener Marcus Harris is unbeaten on 48 with Campbell Kellaway also at the crease on 3no.
Victoria need to better Queensland's result in Tasmania or, in the event of achieving the same result, must overhaul their rivals on bonus points.
Boland led the way for a hungry-looking Victoria attack, returning 4-29 from 15 typically miserly overs.
Interim captain Will Sutherland started the rot with wickets at the top of the order, ending with 3-33.
Just three WA batters - Cameron Bancroft (24), Hilton Cartwright (27) and Ashton Turner (27) - passed 10.
Aaron Hardie falling to one of the catches of the season - Mitch Perry diving full length to haul in a shot off the pads at mid wicket - pretty much summed up the teams' fortunes on day one.
Spinner Jon Holland (3-15) will start the second innings on a hat-trick after claiming the last two wickets, with the hosts losing 5-16 to end the innings.
While Victoria were bolstered by Boland's return, WA having already secured top spot and hosting rights for the final, were without rested strike bowlers Joel Paris and Matt Kelly, while Mitch Marsh left for India for Australia ODI duties.