GOLDEN Square has opened its BFNL 17-and-under netball season with a win and Castlemaine has savoured its first victory.
The Bulldogs overcame a spirited Kangaroo Flat at Wade Street on Saturday, while Castlemaine emerged victorious in the battle of the Magpies against Maryborough on Good Friday.
Golden Square coach Melinda Keighran said with four new players in the line-up, including Kangaroo Flat recruit Abbey Grindal, her team had gelled incredibly well in a 49-34 win.
"It was great to get the only netball win of the day for our club and a good start to the season," she said.
"Our girls went out knowing it would be a hard game and knew we would have to do the hard yards in the first quarter to get the runs on the board.
"Kangaroo Flat did come back at us in the third quarter and I am sure they are a side that will come together pretty quickly and be a team that really trouble teams during the season."
The Bulldogs set up their win with a 28-16 opening half.
A pleasing feature of the win for Keighran was the encouraging efforts of Cailin Green, Eliza O'Sullivan and Olivia Richards, who have stepped up from the Bulldogs' development squad.
Golden Square will be further strengthened in the weeks ahead by the return of defender Madeline Marks (thumb injury), who is also a Bendigo Pioneers footballer, and Audrey Andrews, who was unavailable.
"A real pleasing thing was we were able to bring in two of our development girls - Jasmine Nevins and Maddie Gerdes - and they both took the court and stood up to the challenge," Keighran said.
"It was a big test too for Abbey Grindal playing against her former club, there were a few nerves before the game, but she stepped up to be our best player."
Wing attack Abbey Clohesy and the versatile Ashlee O'Shea were the other standouts for the Bulldogs, who play Strathfieldsaye this weekend.
Keighran is anticipating a formidable challenge from the developing Storm after the teams played each other during the pre-season.
Tiarni Baxter and Isabella Pitto were best for the Roos, whose best quarter was their third when they outscored the Bulldogs 13-11.
Meanwhile, Castlemaine coach Jess Cox said her side would take plenty of encouragement from its 49-28 win against Maryborough.
It was the Magpies' first victory since round one last season against the same opponent and follows a promising pre-season under the direction of coaching director Bob Gartside
"I thought the girls really did the things we've tried to put in place at training and you could see the confidence build throughout the match," Cox said.
"It gives us plenty of confidence for the rest of the season, we have probably lacked a bit of confidence in other years.
"The team also went to the Rochester (pre-season) tournament where they beat Kangaroo Flat and that gave them a bit of confidence as well leading into the season."
Cox, who is new to coaching the 17-and-under team, said a spread of major contributions made picking best players a hard choice for her.
"There were standouts all over the court, but if you look down at our goaling end, young Holly Giddings had a brilliant game ... she was putting them in from everywhere," she said.
"She's only a bottom-age player, which a lot of them are - it's a very young side.
"I don't think any of them have to step up next season, so they will be able to play together again which will be great for their development.
"Down in the defence end Mikhayla Oxley and Layla Zepnick were fantastic and got their hands to everything.
"To win like they did on Friday was a real confidence booster."
In other games, reigning premiers Sandhurst continued their unbeaten start to the season with 70-33 win over Strathfieldsaye, and Eaglehawk defeated South Bendigo 43-33.
Gisborne had the bye.
In round three games this Saturday, South Bendigo (0-2) hosts Sandhurst (2-0) at the QEO, Golden Square (1-0) makes the trek to Strathfieldsaye (0-2), Kangaroo Flat (0-2) clashes with Gisborne (1-0) and Maryborough (0-2) battles undefeated Eaglehawk (2-0).
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