KANGAROO Flat coach Jayden Cowling says he is not sure what to expect from Castlemaine's line-up in Saturday's clash at Camp Reserve, but insists his side will be prepared for any scenario.
The Magpies turned plenty of heads with a bevy of high-profile signings during the pre-season, but they have yet to field a full complement of players this season, or even come close to doing so.
Co-coaches Fiona Fowler and Gary Cooke are hoping this might be the week.
Fresh from a tough, but convincing 65-40 win over Kyneton, Cowling said the Roos were looking forward to their first A-grade outing at Castlemaine since 2017 and a major test of their strength.
"We know they are going to be a great side, hopefully, it's another great game of netball, just like the Sandhurst game," he said.
"They have an amazing playing list with plenty of VNL and other experience, but we don't know if they are all going to be playing this weekend.
"We'll train as if they are all in. We can't wait, even if they have players out, they are still a quality side.
"We saw some of the footage from their game against South, so it's going to be a tough game no matter what."
Following their one-goal loss to Sandhurst, Cowling was thrilled with the Roos' response against Kyneton.
With defensive duo Ingrid Hopkins and Laura McDonald missing, Ava Lowndes stepped up for her first A-grade game and was a standout at goal keeper and goal defence alongside Carly Van Den Heuvel, helping add to the rich depth of talent capable of playing in the top grade at Dower Park.
Cowling was also able to offer some game time to two of the club's promising 17-and-under players.
"It's been a great start to the season. We know we have a tough next couple of weeks with Castlemaine and Gisborne back-to-back," he said.
"As we said against Sandhurst, these tough games are the ones you play for and we know we can't go into any game affording to go half-hearted.
"We're excited about the challenge and fingers-crossed all the girls get through training and we have a full list of players."
In other round six games, Strathfieldsaye (1-4) will look to get its season back on track against Maryborough (2-3), which will be chasing back-to-back wins for the first time since rounds 11 and 12 of the 2017 season, Kyneton (1-3-1) hosts Golden Square (0-5), and Gisborne clashes with South Bendigo.
Sandhurst and Eaglehawk have a weekend off and will play a standalone contest on May 21.
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