Coach Tracey Baggs expects Wests Leagues Balance’s new second team to improve through the Newcastle netball open championship after they earned their place at the expense of Junction Stella on Saturday.
Wests No.2, Nova Thunder, Maryville Tavern Alize, Souths Pride and Junction Stella competed in a round-robin grading tournament to decide who would join Wests No.1, Souths Lions, BNC Whanau and Forsythes Business Advisors in the eight-team top division.
Junction Stella were relegated to A-grade after losing all four 24-minute games.
Baggs, who guided Wests to the premiership double on debut last year, said the club’s No.2 side won two games and lost another by one goal to show they will be competitive this year.
“My team struggled with that connection, at this point, but my No.1 team was there supporting them and other people commentated that once they hit their straps, other teams probably won’t want to play them,” Baggs said on Sunday.
“I’m excited for the competition, it's going to be great.
“We didn’t have Phoebe [Seamer] and we ended with eight after the first game because Abbie Johnson rolled her ankle badly.
“They were shortened games, they were hard to get into and the heat was extraordinary on those courts yesterday, and there was very little rest, so it was tough. But from my point of view with the competition, the teams were there to fight yesterday. It was a really good standard.”
She said Nova were the standout side on Saturday with Katie Bradstock and Abbie Gray leading the way.
Greater Open: West Leagues Balance No 1, Souths Lions, BNC Whanau, Forsythes Business Advisors, West Leagues Balance No 2, Nova Thunder, Maryville Tavern Alize, Souths Pride.
A Grade: Junction Blooze, Junction Stella, BNC Koodidara, Souths Ash, Maryville Tavern Rose, Albion Hotel, Osborn Law, West Leagues Balance 3.