BENDIGO Pioneers under-19 players Lucia Painter and Freyja Pearce are confident their side can bounce back and notch its first win of the NAB League girls season on Saturday.
The Pioneers girls will play the first of just two home games this season when they host the Greater Western Victoria Rebels at Epsom-Huntly Recreation Reserve from noon.
The Pioneers kicked off their 2022 season last Saturday with a 37-point loss to the Murray Bushrangers in Yarrawonga.
Back on home turf, though, the Pioneers are determined to make the most of the opportunity to play at Epsom on what will be a big day of women's football action.
"We're pumped to be able to play at home this week; we've got a strong team and we're feeling confident," Painter said this week.
"We're really confident in the group of girls we've got this year.
"We didn't get the result we wanted in the first game last week, but we showed with some of the football we played what we are capable of."
We didn't get the result we wanted in the first game last week, but we showed with some of the football we played what we are capable of- Lucia Painter
Pearce describes the Pioneers as a tight group on the back of a strong pre-season under second-year coach Danny O'Bree.
"We had a really good pre-season and the girls have all bonded really well and we're really connected," Pearce said.
"Our training levels have been high and it has been great to have the futures (under-16) girls involved as well to be able to get around and support them and help develop them."
Also in action on Saturday against the Rebels will be the Pioneers' under-16 futures squad, which will be aiming to build on a strong performance against the Bushrangers last week when they won by 36 points.
Among the Pioneers' futures player is Kyneton's Jazz Short, who is revelling in her first year in the program.
"Like the under-19s, us future girls have all bonded really well at training and it's like we're each other's family on game day," Short said.
"On game day and at training we're always there for each other... all the girls have been really welcoming and it has been a lot of fun so far. We played really well last week and it was a great way to start."
Saturday's triple-header of matches at Epsom-Huntly starts at 10am when the Murray Bushrangers and Geelong Falcons meet in an under-19 game.
That will be followed by the Pioneers-Rebels under-19 match at noon and under-16 futures game at 2pm.
B: J. Douglas, M. Marks, E. Everist
HB: O. Di Donato, L. Gregor, E. Bell
C: S. Demeo, S. Orritt, C. Evans
HF: D. Ryan, T. Williams, L. Keck
F: A. Donnelly, S. Hobbs, B. O'Rourke
FOLL: F. Pearce, L. Painter, T. Davidge
INTER: K. Fullarton, N. Bacon, D. Greenwood, S. Johnston, E. Gilligan, M. Pianta
EMERG: S. Pearce, A. Zadow, E. Daly
B: K. Monleon, N. Cox, S. McClelland
HB: J. Morrison, M. Pearce, E. Cail
C: I. Spratt, A. Haigh, O. Symes
HF: G. Sanford, A. Edwards, S. Cooper
F: N. Peebles, A. Zadow, J. Cooper
FOLL: S. Pearce, L. Moss, J. Caruso
INTER: O. Lacy, L. Rogers, M. Newlan, E. Daly, H. Ripper, E. Grieve
EMERG: E. Jeffrey, J. Short, N. Pinner
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