STRATHFIELDSAYE coach Steph Freemantle believes last weekend's away win combined with the return from injury of Caitlyn Hamilton will help lift team spirits ahead of the second half of the BFNL home and away season.
The always tricky to negotiate Storm returned to the winner's list for the first time since May 14 with a 28-goal win over Golden Square at Wade Street.
Their third win of the season has the Storm in seventh place on the ladder at the halfway mark, two points behind sixth-placed Kyneton (3-5-1) and a further six points behind Castlemaine in fifth.
They will have the chance to score back-to-back wins for the first time this season when they play ninth-placed Eaglehawk this Saturday at Canterbury Park in a game the Hawks would be similarly eyeing as a shot at another victory.
"The win was very much needed for all the girls' confidence and to keep them believing we have good things going on, so I was really proud of them," Freemantle said.
"(2022 season recruit) Emmie Banfield was amazing, she did a really great job in defence and was on top of things all day.
"She made it really hard for Square to get the ball into the ring.
"And Ava Hamilton was awesome. I think it was a real confidence booster having (her sister) Caity back out there. Caity only played a quarter, she just wanted to get a feel for it.
"It's a bit of a mental game when you are coming back from big injuries, but she was just a calming influence on the court.
"We had already built a bit of a lead before she came on, but it was good to just get her on and help steady the girls a bit."
Freemantle said the aim was for Caitlyn Hamilton, a member of the club's 2015 grand final team, to gradually step up her on-court output in the weeks ahead.
Their win over the Bulldogs added to the Storm's previous victories this season against Eaglehawk in round one and Maryborough in round six.
They also finished within four goals of Castlemaine in round four.
A definite aim for the Storm will be finishing the year with a higher number of second half of season wins than they totalled in the first half.
"(Saturday) was one of those days where everyone did really good things and stepped up, which is what we have been talking about the last few weeks," Freemantle said.
"There are no excuses anymore, everyone has got to want to win and everyone has to step up and play their best game.
"It was good to see that happen.
"There's definitely a top-end and a bottom-end in the BFNL and for me, we're really looking to finish at the top end of that bottom end.
"If we could get to sixth by the end of the season, that would make me very, very happy."
The win was achieved without skilful midcourter Brylee Wilson, who has been a shining light in her first season for the Storm.
A handy 26-goal lead at three quarter time paved the way for rising star Layla O'Shea, from the Storm's 17-and-under team, to play the last quarter in defence.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.