City West Falcons have started the Victorian Netball League championship season with a solid win.
Facing a fellow finalist of last season, the Hawks, the Falcons did the damage in the first half and held strong in the second for the 68-57 win.
Falcons coach Marg Lind said she was very happy with how the side kicked off the year.
“It was a tough game and they really fought hard,” she said. “We had to focus and have concentration across the whole four quarters.
“We should have built on the lead in the second half, but they made a good change and brought Shae Gee on for a bit more pace.”
Lind said the Falcons’ attacking end, the same that played in last season’s grand final, continued where it had left off.
She said there were also positive signs for the new-look defensive line-up.
“Sarah [Szczykulski] and Zoe [Davies] are still working each other out,” she said.
Sarah had a really good first half against Nat Billings. Shae is a speedy goaler.
“It’s something to work on, how to adapt to running goalers, which a few clubs have this season.
“The defenders are growing each week – it’s now about working under that pressure.”
Lind said the Falcons went into the game with just eight players while trying to give their state representatives court time across all the grades.
That included Australian Netball League player Uneeq Palavi playing in VNL division 1, with fellow ANL player Jane Cook taking the goal shooter position in the top grade.
The Falcons’ ANL defender Jacqui Newton didn’t play, with Lind saying they didn’t expect to see her until after the ANL season finished.
Lind said it was important to get wins at this time of season when they had close to their best team on the court.
“We can’t drop a game while we have that line-up,” she said.
While it was a strong start for the championship side, there were mixed results across the Falcons’ other sides.
Lind said the division 1 side was “terrible” in its 60-27 loss. The result was compounded by an ankle injury to shooter Maddy Gray, which will limit the shooting options in the top two grades.
The Falcons’ under-19s had a better night, beating the Hawks 47-42.
Lind was impressed by the first-up performances of Chloe Langley, Daisy O’Kane and Hannah Magasanik.
She said while they had impressed in training it was nice to see what they could do on court in proper competition.
All three Falcons sides will this week face Casey Demons.