MARONG underlined its status as LVFNL netball's big improvers by claiming another impressive scalp against a likely finals rival on Saturday.
The Panthers, who are looking to build on last season's fourth-place finish, defeated Bridgewater 44-35.
It followed a morale-boosting opening round win over Maiden Gully YCW, who many have pegged as a genuine premiership contender after its stellar 10-1 season last year.
After her team was slow to start in round one against the Eagles, Panthers coach Bianca Garton was keen to avoid a repeat against the Mean Machine, who were coming off a solid round win of their own against Pyramid Hill.
Garton, now in her third season as coach (including the cancelled 2020), got her wish with the Panthers establishing a handy break at quarter time before withstanding a series of strong challenges from the Mean Machine.
"We talked about our first game against YC and we weren't happy with the first quarter, it wasn't a good start and we just chased tail all day," she said.
"So we were really keen to come out firing this week and we did that.
"It just meant we were in a position to control the game and we were able to lead at every break. Nine goals against a good team like Bridgewater is a good win."
The win was achieved without the Panthers' reigning best and fairest Kirsty Hamilton, whose absence paved the way for Brittany Shannon to step into centre.
The former North Bendigo midcourter responded in the best manner possible with a best on court performance.
Hamilton was not the only key player missing the game, with Claudia Collins unavailable for Bridgewater.
Star recruit Carly Ladson assumed the goal shooting duties and was a strong presence alongside another of the Mean Machine's best in Sidney Niemann.
With plenty of depth, the Panthers rotated three players in the goal circle with good effect, including Brittany Hercus, who missed round one.
The win was another momentum-builder for the Panthers, who, like many clubs across the region, have been unable to field their full side early in the season.
They will eventually have the luxury of slotting versatile midcourter/defender Kim Dalton into the line-up in the second half of the season following her recovery from an ACL injury.
A second-straight win over one of last year's top-five is one more than they achieved in 2021.
Another big test looms after the Easter break when the Panthers clash with 2019 premiers and 2021 minor premiers Mitiamo.
The Superoos moved to 2-0 with 53-31 win over Newbridge and Calivil United defeated Bears Lagoon-Serpentine 59-32.
The clash at Serpentine was the Demons' first for the season after they had a bye in round one. That was also the case for Newbridge.
Pyramid Hill had the bye on Saturday, while Maiden Gully YCW was drawn to play Inglewood, which has no A-grade team.
In other games after the break, Maiden Gully YCW hosts Newbridge and Pyramid Hill clashes with Bears Lagoon-Serpentine.
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