A strong second half of the season has Gisborne primed for a good tilt at the Bendigo Netball League finals.
The Bulldogs had six wins, two losses and a draw in the first half of the season, but have been undefeated the second time around, with one round remaining.
Bulldogs coach Guy Keane said they had focused on improving their game in the second half of the season, so they weren’t just making up the numbers come finals time.
“We have played a really good second half of the season,” he said. “We’ve been playing some good consistent netball which has been a focus.
“The second focus point was to have some good performances against teams we didn’t beat in the first half of the season.
“We got return wins against Kangaroo Flat and Golden Square who beat us the first time.”
On Saturday, the second-placed Bulldogs made it two wins for the season against Maryborough, winning 66-37.
The only team they haven’t beaten this season is ladder-leader Sandhurst.
The two teams drew 39-apiece in their first match and front up against each other again on Saturday in the final round of the home-and-away season.
“It gives you confidence that we’ve beaten every team but one at the moment,” Keane said.
“Knowing we’ve had wins against sides could be crucial at stages of close games in finals.”
Keane said Maddy Stewart had been a standout this season. After a slow start she was standing up in crucial games.
Stewart missed Saturday’s game due to Victorian Netball League commitments, but will be back for the final round of the season.
Tiana Newman, in the midcourt, has been another standout for the Bulldogs.
Keane said he was still doing some tinkering with the line-up ahead of finals.
“We had a couple of girls on holidays for four or five weeks and now they’ve come back into the mix. All the positions are up for grabs and players have to earn their positions.
“We’ve got some good combinations.”
The Bulldogs under-17 team will also play finals. The Bulldogs are currently in fifth spot with only a game and half separating the top five teams.
The A-reserve, B-grade and B-reserve sides will miss out on finals.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs football side had a low scoring win against bottom side Maryborough. The Bulldogs’ 8.10 (58)-5.10 (40) win was their
seventh for the season.
The Bulldogs remain seventh on the ladder.