KANGAROO FLAT coach Jayden Cowling has praised his team's hard work and flexibility in a 16-goal win against Castlemaine at Camp Reserve on Saturday.
The Roos withstood a spirited challenge from the Magpies, who were bolstered by the inclusion of Melbourne Vixens training partner Gabby Coffey and former New South Wales Swifts goal shooter Mikaela Vaughan for the second versus fifth clash.
The ultra-talented pair entered the game late in the opening quarter and had an immediate impact.
The Magpies, who trailed by eight goals at quarter time, were able to bridge the gap to four goals by midway through the second quarter, before the introduction of experienced goal shooter Lou Dupuy helped steady the ship for the Roos.
A seven-goal half time lead for Kangaroo Flat became 12-goals at three quarter time after Dupuy sank 13 of the Roos' 14-goals for the quarter.
A relentless effort was capped by a 12-8 final quarter as the Roos ran out impressive winners 57-41 to improve their record to 5-1.
Cowling hailed the win as a brilliant team effort.
"We were pumped all week to play against Castlemaine, we know they are an amazing side," he said.
"All nine players who took to the court had an impact.
"We could have been rattled when we saw a Melbourne Vixens training partner in Gabby Coffey walk in, but credit to the girls, we just played our game and focused on ourselves and that is what got us the four points in the end."
One of the most pleasing aspects of the win for Cowling was his team's ability to reset and lift themselves when the Magpies challenged fiercely in the second quarter.
"We didn't focus too much on them, we know they have the talent there - we really wanted to focus on us," he said.
"We had that pressure game against Sandhurst and we really wanted to learn how to treasure the ball rather than throwing the ball away when we came under pressure and that's what we did really well today (Saturday).
"It was controlled netball and we had an impact all over the court. It was a real team performance."
Credit to the girls, we just played our game and focused on ourselves and that is what got us the four points in the end- Kangaroo Flat coach Jayden Cowling
A quality victory against a high-calibre opposition was led by goal defence Laura McDonald and wing defence Milly Wicks.
In attack, Abbey Ryan combined solidly early in the contest with Julia Clarke, with the pair contributing nine goals apiece in an impressive opening.
The pairing of Ryan and Dupuy was equally as effective, producing 26-goals in the second half.
Kangaroo Flat used nine players throughout the day with Ingrid Hopkins replacing Carly Van Den Heuvel at goal keeper at half time and Clarke and Dupuy sharing the goal shooting duties.
Castlemaine remains a work in progress despite fielding one of its strongest line-ups for the season, including Coffey, goal attack/shooter Vaughan, in-form midcourter Maddie Carter and former Kyneton star Emma Webb.
Magpies co-coach Gary Cooke paid full credit to Kangaroo Flat for an accomplished performance.
"We threw a lot of our own passes away and made our own mistakes, but they put really good pressure on us," he said.
"We threw a few different line-ups out there and every time we adjusted the line-up we got a little bit of a run on, but they reacted to that and brought the margin back again.
"They did well. They were a great team to play. They are the games that we want. We want that pressure and we want to see how we react.
"We are slowly getting there."
Cooke pinpointed Dupuy's entry to the game as a turning point.
"She was awesome - I was very impressed with her," he said.
"But also their midcourt pace - the speed at which the ball was coming into her, it was just damaging. It was really hard to stop that.
"We had Gabby Coffey playing goal defence, but it was coming in so fast.
"Abbey Ryan was clearly one of their best - she was outstanding.
"I'm sure we will learn from this."
Despite the loss, Castlemaine has held on to fifth position with a 3-3 record.
Following a break next Saturday, the Magpies next two games will be against bottom side Golden Square and ninth-placed Eaglehawk.
The Magpies sit two points clear of Kyneton, which notched up its second win of the season with a 54-40 victory over Golden Square.
The Tigers rebounded from a loss to Kangaroo Flat and advanced their record to 2-3-1, with the draw coming in round three against South Bendigo.
At Strathfieldsaye, the Storm scored their second win of the season in a tight contest against Maryborough.
The Storm won a see-sawing affair 48-45 after trailing by four goals at three quarter time.
At Gisborne, the third-placed Bulldogs put some space between themselves and South Bendigo with a 19-goal win against the Bloods.
Rylee Connell scored 24 of the Bulldogs' 55 goals for the day in only three quarters of netball, combining solidly with star goal attack Claudia Mawson.
The Bulldogs outscored the Bloods in three quarters, which included an impressive 18-7 opener.
They won 55-36.
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