SANDHURST will head into the second half of the BFNL season with an unblemished record after a convincing win over Castlemaine at the QEO on Saturday.
The Dragons, led by a stunning best on court performance by star midcourter Meg Williams, defeated the fifth-placed Magpies 62-46.
It was easily one of the Dragons' most complete victories of the season, coming against a Castlemaine team bolstered by the inclusions of star recruits Mikaela Vaughan, Kelsie Rainbow (who only played two quarters) and Maddie Carter.
The Magpies gave plenty of resistance to the Dragons, who are attempting to win a fourth-straight premiership this season, across six years, especially early in the contest.
Scores were tied at 13-apiece at quarter time, before the Dragons put their foot down in the second and third terms to lead by seven goals at half time 15 at three quarter time.
Sandhurst coach Tamara Gilchrist could not have been happier with her team's commitment and performance against a highly-rated and well-coached Magpies.
"It was a great game; the first quarter was goal for goal and it was quite a fast and erratic game, so we needed to settle into our structure and game plan," she said.
"There was a fair bit of atmosphere in it and a bit of excitement, so that changes the game a bit.
"The second half, we just played our style of netball and ran away with it. It was a really good win."
The Dragons were without their star goal attack Kelsey Meade, who was in Queensland.
As she has done on plenty of occasions this season, Holly Lockhart stepped into the goal circle and delivered a big-game performance alongside the steady and reliable Bec Smith.
The second half, we just played our style of netball and ran away with it. It was a really good win.- Tamara Gilchrist
Gilchrist described Dragons skipper Williams' game as 'sensational.
"When the game required some composure and control, she just dominated," she said.
"She had a tough day out, but she just rose above and shone for us.
"Ruby Turner was our next best and is having just an outstanding season. She gets her hands to so much ball and creates so many opportunities for our attackers.
"I wish I had seven awards to give out, everyone played their role and was accountable. It was a super team effort.
"The feeling among the group was really good as we knew we were up against some really good competitors.
"To have a win like that and play well, it helps us take some positive vibes into our game against Gisborne next week."
With Castlemaine having struggled to field a settled line-up throughout the season, Gilchrist was confident the Magpies would be a true force come the latter part of the season with a full complement of their stars and impressive young local content.
In an encouraging sign for the Magpies, joint coach Fiona Fowler played a quarter in B-grade, in a sign a return to the A-grade court following the birth of her second child is not too far away.
The Magpies, who are competing in A-grade for the first time since 2017, will head into the second half of the season in fifth position at 5-4, six points ahead of Kyneton (3-5-1), which defeated Maryborough 49-46 on Saturday.
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