KYNETON coach Dianne Guest-Oakley has lauded her players after an emotional, but ultimately successful reintroduction to BFNL A-grade netball.
The Tigers produced some stirring netball to defeat Golden Square 59-19 under lights at the Kyneton Showgrounds on Saturday night.
It was the Tigers' first win in the top grade since their 52-43 victory against Castlemaine on July 15, 2017.
That was the only win of the season for Kyneton back then, but judging on their round one performance, the Tigers can look forward to plenty more successes in 2019.
Hoping to build on last season's A-reserve premiership and an impressive pre-season, the Tigers were relentless against the Bulldogs, after overcoming the early loss of defender Stephanie Penning with an ankle injury.
"We are very happy. The defensive pressure the girls put on was amazing, it really stepped up a notch," Guest-Oakley said.
"Collectively the defensive end was where our better players were, but our goalers (Michelle Fletcher and Hayley Page) did really well too.
"I was expecting a good solid game and that is what Golden Square gave us. It was a very solid and physical game and a very quick game.
"I thought our girls would have been good under the pressure and they were. They did everything I expected of them."
A joint Betty Thompson Medal winner in 2014, Emma Webb returned for Kyneton after a couple of seasons away and immediately impacted the contest, combining well in defence with Tylah Marchbank and Kristy Viete.
"Those three girls worked really well together, especially considering they hadn't played together before other than our practice matches and not having Steph's height in there," Guest-Oakley said.
The Tigers were also well served in the midcourt by Brooke and Rachelle Mangan and new recruit Tegan Beckerley.
Guest-Oakley said Penning was at this point expected to miss at least one or two games.
The Tigers will get a truer indication of their relative strength, when they clash with Gisborne in round two.
The Bulldogs, who are still without a coach after 2018 grand final coach Kim Bailey stepped down earlier this month, will be coming off a first round bye.
Guest-Oakley said she was hopeful of backing-up their win over Golden Square with another strong effort.
"As I have said before, we take every week as it comes," she said.
"Gisborne is a good side and well put together, so we will see how we go.
"It will be a totally different game again."
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