Given teams have barely played over the past month, a rusty opening quarter was to be expected at Blue Lake Sports Park where South and East Gambier faced off to resume the 2021 Bendigo Bank Western Border Netball Association season.
Both sides spent the opening minutes of the match dusting off the cobwebs, but in the end it was all about supply and the Bulldogs created enough turnover ball to ensure they were in control at quarter time with a seven-goal buffer.
The strong driving of Emily Hunter and connection between Tenille Gray and Amryn Bosko was more impressive as the quarter wore on and improved even more in the second as the visitors took a 14 goal lead into the main break.
Hunter, Tyne Bosko, Lisa Fyfe and Bo Creek made life tough for the South frontline, not just with clean intercepts but also by pressuring every pass and denying access to the circle’s edge.
The ability of Lara Munro to convert her opportunities and her willingness to do the work required to shake off Fyfe was pivotal in keeping the Demons in touch, as was the defensive efforts of Brandi Bouchier and Ellie Bouchier.
They were constantly faced with the ball at speed but still managed to be disruptive at times.
It was the third quarter where the scoreboard damage was done as East took that 15 minutes with a 24-9 scoreline, with Gray shooting 17 straight and Amryn Bosko converting seven from eight.
Again the defensive efforts of the Bulldogs created those opportunities, but the intensity dropped in the final quarter.
It was split 10-all with the final score line 66-37.
For South the Bouchier defensive combination continues to shoulder a heavy workload and rises to the occasion, while Renee Pluckhahn in centre is a hard worker who has an impact at both ends of the court.
The battle between Tyne Bosko and Alyssa Duncan was one of the best on the day as two of the rising stars of the competition both had their moments, while Munro would have to be high in the club’s best and fairest counting in her debut A Grade season.
For the Bulldogs, there is no weakness – at the moment it is about consistency of performance and just trying to regain the momentum of the early rounds, given the disruption to the season and while Kate Dempsey easily holds her own in the top grade, East is also close to welcoming back Tarsh McCallum from injury.