STAWELL has returned to the winners list after fighting off a determined Nhill at Central Park, Stawell on Saturday.
The Warriors – coming off a loss to rival Ararat – increased their lead at every change to claim a 22-goal victory, 71-49.
However, they had to battle for their second win this season, with the Tigers trailing by just six goals at the main break.
Warriors coach Kelly Cosson said the win showed her team’s improvement.
“We’re a really new team – there’s only two girls from the previous year, so we’re a very young team and we’re getting better game by game with more court time and practice time,” she said.
“Our goalies helped us pull away in the second half – Liza Cook only missed three goals for the whole game, and when your shooter is shooting about 95 per cent it does make a difference.”
Cosson also praised the roles played by A Grade debutant Courtney McIlvride at wing attack and keeper Meg Walker, with both players stepping up from the under-17s.
Tigers coach Stephanie Jones said her side had been competitive but had not made the most of its chances.
“We could have won it,” she said.
“Our first quarter was our best quarter, but some silly decisions and passes let us down.”
Walker and Warriors midcourt player Jade Cross were named their side’s best, with Cook, 40 goals, and Grace Bibby, 31 goals, making the most of their opportunities in the ring.
For the Tigers, shooter Emma Smith was a real standout, converting 46 of her side’s 49 goals, with attacking partner Jones also named among the best.
Horsham maintained top position on the ladder with a comprehensive 51-goal triumph over Minyip-Murtoa at Murtoa Recreation Reserve.
The Demons opened up a 15-goal advantage at the first change and never looked back, running away with a 67-16 victory.
Demons Georgia Duncan, 37 goals, and Stephanie Thomson, 30 goals, continued their shooting form, with Jedda Heard and Abbie Wright starring.
Keeper Lauren Hotker and centre Laura Delahunty were named the Burras’ best. Ararat continued its undefeated start to the season, accounting for host Horsham Saints by 11 goals at Coughlin Park.
The Rats led by nine goals at the major break before securing a 49-38 win.
Goal attack Megan Shea scored 33 for the Rats, with midcourt player Kate Bligh named the side’s best.
Jarni Hansen and Courtney Clough impressed for the Saints, with Sharon Fedke continuing her form in the ring, shooting 25 goals.
Warrack Eagles went back-to-back with a 16-goal win over Dimboola at Anzac Park, Warracknabeal.
The Eagles extended their lead marginally at every change on their way to a 39-23 victory.
Eagles shooter Briodi McKenzie and goal defence Penny Fisher played key roles in the win, while Rianna Kuhne and Abbey Greig were the Roos’ best.
On Saturday, Nhill and Horsham Saints will target their first win for the year at Davis Park, Nhill, while Minyip-Murtoa will face a challenge breaking its duck against an undefeated Ararat on the Rats’ home court.
Dimboola will face the might of Horsham at Horsham City Oval, while Warrack Eagles and Stawell will look to add a third win when they meet at Warracknabeal.