Eaglehawk sets sights on reigning BFNL premiers Kangaroo Flat

REPEAT: Bridget Murray and her Hawks teammates will look to soar for the second time in as many weeks when they clash with reigning premiers Kangaroo Flat at Canterbury Park on Saturday.
REPEAT: Bridget Murray and her Hawks teammates will look to soar for the second time in as many weeks when they clash with reigning premiers Kangaroo Flat at Canterbury Park on Saturday.

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EAGLEHAWK'S new-found strength in depth will be on display on Saturday against Kangaroo Flat in BFNL netball.

The Eagles showed why they were expected to be the biggest improvers of 2017 with a 71-20 win over South Bendigo last weekend.

Now for the ultimate test against the reigning premiers.

New Eagles coach Mali Roberts could not be more happier with the way her team, bolstered by the off-season inclusion of sisters Ashley and Abbey Ryan, from Golden Square, and Kangaroo Flat defender Zoe Davies.

"The girls came out firing," Roberts said.

"It was a great team effort both defensively and in attack, each quarter pushing further regardless of the change in combinations or the scoreline.

"Zoe not only had a great game but showed a lot of leadership prior to the match and on court."

Roberts, a former Queensland Firebird who coached Strathfieldsaye to a BFNL grand final in 2015, has been quick to remind her players there is always room for improvement.

Adaptability and variety have been key themes during training this week for the Eagles, who expect the Roos to be fired up after last week's loss to Golden Square.

"I’m sure it wasn’t the start Kangaroo Flat wanted and regardless of whether they win or lose matches they always tend to put up a tough match," Roberts said.

"We are definitely looking forward to it. 

"It is good to face them early in the season so we know where we stand."

While naturally disappointed with a loss last round, Roos coach Janelle Hobbs was proud of her new-look team's effort to rebound from 11 goals down to get within three goals of the Bulldogs late in the final quarter before going down by seven.

The Roos have been handed arguably one of the toughest draws to start the season, with games against Gisborne and Maryborough to follow, not that it has fazed the two-time premiership coach.

“We had some positives, I thought Ruby Barkmeyer played another good game, young Milly Wicks played a good game in defence, and our young defenders (Ava Lowndes and Danielle Markwell) put a lot of pressure on,” she said.

“A loss is a loss and we’ll learn a lot from that and we’ll keeping working as we do.”

Meanwhile,  a slick Golden Square will look to consolidate its sparkling round one from against a rebounding Strathfieldsaye, which opened with a loss to Sandhurst.

The Bulldogs were strong across the court in a first-up win over Kangaroo Flat, with star goal shooter Gabe Richards being fed well by recruit Kelly Wilson, and coach Allira Holmes, Meg Gilbert and Lucy Morcom forming a tight defence.

Strathfieldsaye was not far away from the Dragons and will be hell-bent on avoiding slipping to 0-2 early in the season.

In other games, impressive first round winners Maryborough hosts Kyneton, Sandhurst will look to go 2-0 against Castlemaine, and South Bendigo makes the trek to Gisborne, which was a big first-round winner over te Tigers.