A SHOW of strength from the BFNL netball ranks on Saturday got off to a perfect start, with the league's 17-and-under team scoring an impressive win over Outer East.
Bendigo, under the guidance of coach Melinda Keighran, outscored the visitors in all four quarters to post a convincing 62-35 victory.
Despite the unseasonably warm conditions, Bendigo finished the clash at the QEO full of momentum and running, outscoring Outer East 18-4 in the final term to cap a confidence-boosting win.
It was just the performance coach Keighran was looking for as the league's young guns look to progress through to the Netball Victoria Association Championships.
"It was a fantastic win ... the girls did everything we asked of them," she said.
"We worked on some systems during the week and it was great to see that come into play, we could see the girls putting them into place.
"They were really challenged in that first quarter; (Outer East) were really speedy and their goalers were fantastic and didn't miss. They really took it up to us, but we kept pushing back.
"Rotations for us were great, we were able to get the whole 10 players on the court. As a coach it's nice to see everyone on the court and playing their role."
The inter-league win comes on then heels of a bright performance at this month's Shepparton Netball Association Tournament, where the BFNL team finished runners-up to Ovens and Murray.
South Bendigo young gun and team captain Chloe Langley won the medal as the coach's choice as best on court, in what will be her swan song in the 17-and-under team.
The recent Victorian 17-and-under representative has been ruled ineligible to participate in the Association Championships following a new ruling, which prevents players who have played in five or more VNL games from representing their league at junior level.
While naturally disappointed to being lose a quality player, Keighran and assistant coach Nicole Donnellon said it would present an opportunity for another talented youngster to step into the squad.
"It will give us a few more options across the court," Donnellon said.
"It might not necessarily be a goaler, we already have some great depth in Abbey Grindal, who played beautifully, Ash O'Shea has come on and Morgan McClennan is a wonderful shooter," Keighran said.
"They get the opportunity to really step up."
Golden Square's Grindal shot 35 of the side's 62 goals, including 11 in each of the second and third quarters, with Langley notching up 20 before moving to goal defence in the final term.
A strong across the court effort included a stellar performance at the defensive end of the court, led by vice-captain Ruby Turner (Sandhurst) at goal defence, wing defence Arriah Keogh (Eaglehawk), and goal keeper Georgia Murray, the lone Gisborne player in the line-up.
The 17-and-under team now has its sights set on the Association Championships - Northern qualifiers in Echuca on June 2.
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