A third-quarter shake-up and steely defensive performance has propelled Forsythes Business Advisors to a hard-fought, seven-goal victory over Maryville Tavern in the Newcastle open netball championship on Saturday.
Forsythes coach Traci Baber has her eye on a return to the championship decider this season and her charges started their 2019 campaign strongly with a two-goal win over defending champions West Leagues Balance 1 in round one.
They backed it up with a come-from-behind 48-41 win over Maryville on Saturday to head into a three-week break over Easter unbeaten.
"It's probably been a while since we've had two wins to start the season," Baber said.
But the win did not come easy. Both Forsythes and Maryville were low on numbers on Saturday due to injury, illness and unavailability.
Goal attack Bronte Magin, who produced two crucial long-range shots late in the win over Wests, was a last-minute withdrawal through illness then midcourter Karlie Robards' arrival was delayed until the second quarter after she got stuck in traffic.
"I had seven to start and we were down at the end of the first quarter and at half-time, but it was a quality game," Baber said.
"Maryville were missing a few too and were still very strong."
At half-time Baber moved circle defender Angela Williams to goal attack and injected Robards into the game. The move proved fruitful with Forsythes producing "a great third quarter".
"We were lacking shooters and I had played Angela there once last year," Baber said. "I said to her just get on and feed."
Plenty of praise was reserved for her defensive end combination of Veronica Smith, Keeley Mullins and Ellie McVey, saying their "outstanding" effort proved pivotal.
"We were four or five up going into the last quarter and then had a strong first five or six minutes of the last quarter," Baber said.
"Defensively, it was a really good effort."
Souths Lions remain the only other unbeaten team after two rounds. They opened the year with a 20-goal win over BNC Whanau and backed it up with a 68-28 victory over Junction Hotel on Saturday.
West Leagues Balance 1 bounced back from their first-round loss to Forsythes with a 58-35 win over BNC.
Nova Queens Wharf Thunder, who were round-one losers to Maryville, produced their first win of the season when they beat West 2 68-28 on Saturday.
The open championship resumes with round three on May 4.