Melton South came from behind at three-quarter time to take victory in the Melton derby in the opening round of the Ballarat Netball League.
In a match which ebbed and flowed, it was the Panthers that came out on top against Melton, winning 40-37.
Early on, the Panthers looked the better team before the Bloods settled in the middle two quarters.
With a slightly more experienced side, the Bloods looked set to go on with it.
The Panthers, though, had other ideas, dominating the last quarter to create a seven-goal turnaround to take the win.
Panthers’ coach Anna Edmonds said it was good to get the win to start the season.
“It’s interesting to see what we are going to look forward to for the season,” she said.
“It was a tough game out there today, we had lots of different combinations we had to throw out there.
“We had to do something different and put it together and get the ‘w’.”
Despite being the younger side, the Panthers were able to hold their composure late in the game.
The defence led the way, with a number of key turnovers.
Grace Valele created a large number of those turnovers.
Edmonds said the key was making sure they all backed each other up.
“It’s knowing that you always have each other there and there’s options for you to look for.
“It was not only the defence to get the turnovers, but keeping the ball and keeping position and turning it into goals.”
Savannah Forbes shot 18 goals for the Panthers, with Bonnie Cottam and Valele named the best.
For the Bloods, Keely Boudrie shot 29 goals.
Jess Bartlett was awarded the overall best on court award.
Edmonds knows despite getting a first-up win, they still have a lot to work on.
They wasted a lot of opportunities with plenty of turnovers.
“That’s what we spoke about. A lot of it was our undoing,” Edmonds said.
“We’ll have a lot to do in practice.”
It doesn’t get easier for the Panthers, who face the Sunbury Lions in their next match.
Edmonds said it would be good to test themselves against one of the top sides.
“I guess the Melton South and Melton match there is a rivalry that comes with added pressure.”
In other results, Darley lost to the Sunbury Lions.
A 20-6 first quarter set up the win for the Lions.
Melanie Freeman scored 28 goals for the Devils.
It was a tough start for a new look Bacchus Marsh side, which was convincingly beaten by North Ballarat City, 63-38.
Marie Bolitho was named the Cobras’ best.