A DETERMINED Eaglehawk has laid the foundations for an improved second half of the BFNL A-grade netball season.
The Hawks' goal to finish the year with more second half of season wins than they achieved in the first got off to the perfect start on Saturday with a 25-goal win over Strathfieldsaye at Canterbury Park.
It was the second biggest of their three wins so far, only narrowly eclipsed by a 27-goal win over Golden Square in round four, but it was undoubtedly their best.
The Storm, who won the teams' round one contest at Strathfieldsaye by six goals, started the second half of the season two spots above and one win ahead of the Hawks.
They are now equal on wins, with Strathfieldsaye only narrowly ahead on percentage.
Eleisha Saunders and Elley Lawton could not have asked for a better start to the second half of their first campaign together as joint coaches.
Saunders insisted the win was no surprise, but had been building for a few weeks.
"It's definitely something we have been working on; it's definitely been coming together over the last few weeks," she said.
"It was good to see them put it all together.
"We played Gisborne the previous week, but we still had a strong half against them, but couldn't quite string the four quarters together.
"(Saturday) was definitely their best full four quarter performance.
"Strathfieldsaye challenged us a couple of times in that second quarter, but the girls did really well to stay composed."
The Hawks got a trio of big performances from its defensive line-up of Morgan Keating, Rani Madden and Charli Edlin, who stood tall in the absence of injured joint coach and reigning best and fairest Lawton.
But a clear standout was goal attack Gracie Berryman, who continued her brilliant season with another lively and polished display alongside strong goal shooter Kate Clow.
Hard hit, like most clubs, by COVID and other illnesses this season, Saunders said it was great having 'a set seven players' in Saturday's clash.
The Hawks are hopeful of having Lawton back at some point during the season.
With win number three on the board, attention for Eaglehawk now turns to this weekend's clash against South Bendigo.
The Bloods won their earlier season contest on Good Friday by 21 goals, but not without a fierce early challenge from the Hawks, who trailed by only two goals at quarter time and eight at half time.
Eaglehawk's coaches have been more than encouraged by the improvement their team has shown as the season has progressed, particularly in the last month.
"The same as some of the other sides, we have a very young team and I guess we are finally starting to see that maturity come into their game a lot more," Saunders said.
"They're not rushing the ball and are showing a little bit more trust in each other and confidence in their own games.
"They are definitely playing a lot better netball. The last few weeks we have been working on our attacking end and linking from our midcourt to our goalers, which (Saturday's) game was the best we have ever seen them play.
"It was really nice to see all of that come into play.
"Our goal in the back half of the season is to win some of those games we couldn't quite capitalise on in the first half. I think that came down to maturity and just being able to play a full four quarters without having lapses.
"A few more wins to get up the ladder would be nice, but our aim is to really keep improving."
The next four weeks for Eaglehawk includes South Bendigo (fourth), Kangaroo Flat (second), Golden Square (10th) and Maryborough (ninth).
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