REIGNING premiers Gisborne made the perfect start to its finals campaign, defeating Kyneton in a physical and tough match on Sunday.
After a competitive first half the Bulldogs came out firing in the second half to score a 53 to 33 win in the Bendigo Football Netball League A-grade qualifying final.
Gisborne coach Kerryn Jorgenson said she was proud of her team's efforts, especially against a taller opposition.
"I was trying to tell them to not get too far ahead of themselves and just play each possession as it came," she said.
"It took us a while to settle in the first half, but they put it together in the second.
"We put a lot of pressure on them when they were bringing the ball down the court, which was our focus.
"It amazes me how well they do and just the pressure we had in the mid-court allowed us to pick off some of their passes."
Star centre Tiana Newman made her return from an ankle injury, providing some pressure across the court.
Talented shooter Annie Stewart was also among the best for Gisborne.
"I have been asking her to shoot a bit more aggressively and really go after the rebounds and the last couple of weeks she has been fantastic for us," Jorgenson said.
Gisborne will next play Kangaroo Flat.
Golden Square also defeated Maryborough in the elimination final on Saturday night, 39 to 33.
Square coach Lia Marrone said she was pleased with her team's efforts.
"I was proud of the girls for the pressure and intensity applied for the full game," she said.
"Allira Holmes and Meg Gilbert did a brilliant job in defence and Abbey Ryan was a good target in goals."
Golden Square will now play Kyneton.