KANGAROO Flat skipper Cheslea Sartori has backed the Roos to rebound strongly this weekend against South Bendigo.
The reigning premiers were soundly beaten 62-25 by a slick and impressive Sandhurst last Saturday, relegating them to fifth spot on the league ladder with a 5-3 record.
It left the Roos two wins behind leading pair Sandhurst and Golden Square and one win behind third-placed Gisborne in the race for the double chance.
With the halfway point of the regular season approaching, Kangaroo Flat is a respectable 2-2 against its top five rivals, with wins against Gisborne and fourth-placed Eaglehawk, balanced out by losses to Sandhurst and Golden Square.
In a frank assessment of Saturday's loss, Sartori believed the performance was in no way befitting of a team that had ambitions of being a top three team.
The creative Roos midcourter paid full credit to Sandhurst for a "well-structured" and dominant win, highlighted by standout performances from joint coach Heather Oliver, young midcourter Meg Williams and Kesley Sartori in goals.
"It's quite disappointing to have lost by the amount we did considering we want to have a crack at taking out the premiership again," Sartori said.
"They're sitting in top position for a reason and they really proved that on Saturday. They are the team to beat.
"Our warm up was great, every netball side had won their games for the day but we just didn't come out to play until the second half.
"It's not good enough when we want to be a top three side in this league."
Sartori, who has been balancing BFNL duties with VNL commitments with Melbourne University Lightning, said the Roos were determined to use Saturday's loss as a learning curve and would use this week to regroup.
"(We) can't afford to have starts like that against a quality side like Sandhurst," she said.
"We were playing catch up after the first quarter."
It will be a season defining few weeks ahead for the reigning premiers, with games against Golden Square, Eaglehawk and Maryborough to follow the clash against the Bloods.
The Roos lost to the Magpies in an upset in round four.
They will be without their skipper for a few weeks, with Sartori set to be sidelined with a sprained foot.