A new-look Diggers Rest side has had a tough start to the Riddell District Netball League season with a big loss to Rupertswood.
With three new players and one player returning after not playing last season, the Burras were always going to take time to settle.
A red-hot Sharks side proved too strong for the Burras in the second half on Saturday, winning 54-27.
Burras’ coach Pam Strong said that while it wasn’t the start they were after, her players had been competitive.
“You could tell with some of our combinations we were still settling,” she said.
“We lost our wing attack three weeks ago and we’re trying to fill that void.
“They [Rupo] had a few players who came up from within the club, so they all play the same style.
“We’ve got a new goalkeeper, a new goal attack and a new centre. They all play different styles. It’s about bringing those styles together.
“I think we will be right next week.”
Kathy Dicker was the pick of the shooters for the Burras, with 16 goals, but all three goalers struggled with accuracy.
Last year, the Burras had a tough season that was ruined by injuries.
Strong said they had a lot more depth this year.
Monika Dimovski, who has played in the Victorian Netball League, gives the side another shooting option.
Strong has previously coached Dimovski, who has played with Burras captain Shelby Strong.
Nicole Isles has come across from the Sunbury Lions, where she was part of their B-grade side.
Young defender Heidi Cole will add to the defensive end, having moved from Geelong to Melbourne to study.
Strong was pleased with how Cole performed when introduced in the second half.
Tayla Behan has returned to the Burras after having her first child last season.
Strong said that despite the first-up loss, a key for the Burras remained getting early wins on the board.
This week they will face Riddell, which is coming off a big loss.
“Hopefully, we are injury free this year, that is a big thing,” Strong said.
“The second half [of the season] we lose a lot of players, so we have to work hard to get wins early.”
In other matches, Woodend-Hesket had a big win against Lancefield. After an even first half, the Hawks took their game to another level, eventually running out 60-34 winners.
The match marked the Tigers’ return to the top grade after not fielding an A-grade side last season.
Macedon started its title defence with a 71-38 win against Riddell.
Rockbank won the closest match of the round, downing Melton Centrals 43-37.
Wallan was the round’s other winner, defeating Broadford 52-33.
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