WEST Leagues Balance No.1 proved they will again be the team to beat in the Newcastle open netball championship with a 49-35 over South Lions in the grand final rematch.
Wests overcame the loss of Tara Andrews (soccer), Leilani Soli and Danielle Cannizzo (both away) to lead 16-4 at quarter-time on Saturday at National Park to set up the round-three win.
Souths fought back in the second quarter to cut the margin to five goals but the defending minor and major premiers ran away with the match. The Lions were without leading shooter Brooke Fennings but they welcomed back former national league player Tiffany Gilmour.
Both sides opened the season with two wins and Wests coach Tracey Baggs was pleased to get the first head-to-head points against Souths, who she said showed they “were up for the fight” with the second-quarter comeback.
“It was a good start and that’s how you win games, you’ve got to start strong,” Baggs said.
“We only had eight and the depth of your bench is very important, so given that I have to admit I was a bit nervous going into the game.
“But the girls turned up ready to play and that strong start made the difference.”
She said defenders Kimberly Goodearl and Mikenzie McManus were outstanding and the influence of NSW Premier League players Sophie Buckley and Maddie Taylor was key for her side.
In other matches, Forsythes Business Advisors defeated West Leagues Balance No.2 37-31, BNC Whanau beat Nova Thunder 41-35 and Maryville Tavern Alize downed Souths Pride 47-36.