Improved North Bendigo edges closer to a breakthrough in HDFNL netball

North Bendigo's Ruby Scanlon and Mount PLeasant's Kate McCann go one-on-one. Picture: DARREN HOWE
North Bendigo's Ruby Scanlon and Mount PLeasant's Kate McCann go one-on-one. Picture: DARREN HOWE

NEW North Bendigo coach El Findlay feels her side’s first win is not too far away as the Bulldogs begins preparations for a round three clash against Huntly.

Following a season in which they finished in seventh place with four wins, the Bulldogs have come within a whisker of upsetting a pair of last season’s finalists in the opening two rounds of the 2018 season.

In a tough draw to start the season, North Bendigo gets a third chance in as many weeks to score a win over one of last year’s finalists.

In a sign the competition might be evening, the Bulldogs were able to keep pace on Saturday with a Mount Pleasant team tipped to again challenge for a top-three berth during a 34-30 loss.

It followed a three-goal loss the previous week against Leitchville-Gunbower on the Bombers’ home court.

Findlay, a non-playing coach who took over the reins from Jacqueline Hine and Bridgette McDougall, said it was a case of deja-vu for the Bulldogs against the talented Blues last Saturday.

“It’s been the end of the third quarter in both games that the other team has slowly got on top,” she said.

“We could have won both, but it’s still an improvement on last year.

“I wasn’t sure how the first round (against Leitchville-Gunbower) would go, so I was pretty stoked about how the girls went.

“Then obviously this week, Mounts finished third last year and I think they are a better team than last year to be honest, so to come that close was a bit more disappointing.”

A fresh-look Bulldogs team against the Blues included newcomers Lara Daly (Marong) and Brylie Parker (Maryborough).

The line-up has been further bolstered by the returns of Jordan Arthur and Amber Weston, who have returned to netball after having babies.

North Bendigo goal shooter Jordan Arthur. Picture: DARREN HOWE

North Bendigo goal shooter Jordan Arthur. Picture: DARREN HOWE

Findlay credited her side’s improvement to a mix of contributions, with shooter Ruby Scanlon a standout in week one and midcourters Daly and Taylah Klemm influential against Mount Pleasant.

She hoped for a continuation of their good early season form against the Hawks, but perhaps with an overdue change in luck.

“As much as I don’t want to have honourable losses all the time, I’m still very happy with how the girls are going,” she said.

“We just need a consistent four quarters.”