AS FAR as first games go at a new club and in a new league, Bianca Jones' with Marong was as good as they get.
The Panthers' recruit made an instant impression on her team-mates and opponents alike, playing an integral role in her side's morale boosting come from behind victory against Inglewood last weekend.
In a game in which Inglewood paid tribute to club member Kaye Cohalan, who lost her battle to cancer in 2018, by striking a special medal for the best on court player in each grade, Jones was the recipient in A-grade after leading the Panthers to an 11-goal win as captain.
The significance of the occasion was not lost on the midcourter, who has joined the Panthers after playing in a premiership last season with Moama in the Murray Football League.
"It's a very important cause and one close to me," Jones said.
"My dad was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, so it sits close to home.
"Dad's still here and would have watched today and been happy we got the win.
"I am very honoured to win this medal."
There were no qualms from the opposition bench when it came to the announcement of the medal winner.
"Bianca has always been a brilliant player; years of experience and is just a real leader," said Blues coach Mandy Burrill-Grinton.
"Just her presence out on that court, she got her girls back into it and is a real strong pick-up for Marong."
Jones, who played in a BFNL grand final with Strathfieldsaye in 2015, before joining HDFNL club Leitchville-Gunbower and later Moama, has jumped at the chance to play at a developing club and close to home.
"I live in Marong, so it's a chance to play closer to home," she said.
"Not really knowing anyone, it's been nice to have a non-playing coach, get a new perspective and be in a new league.
"The girls are awesome - all very welcoming. They are quite young, but still have a lot of knowledge and are very resilient after not having won too many games last season and the season before that."
The most experienced player in the Panthers' line-up, Jones has embraced a couple of new roles in 2019, including the centre position after playing most of her netball at wing defence or wing attack.
"I'm hoping to help develop some of the younger girls coming through and provide some leadership on and off the court," she said.
"Hopefully that can help lead to a few more wins.
"Our aim is to push for finals, but more than anything we want to improve week-to-week."
The Panthers, under second-year coach Linda Bickerdike, host Calivil United this Saturday in a clash Jones believes will give them a 'real look at where we are at', after the visitors played off in last season's grand final.
The Demons will be coming off an opening round loss against Newbridge.
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