It may not have been a win on debut, but West Leagues Balance 2 have taken a lot from their first outing in the Greater Open Championship.
Although they began with a 29-48 defeat at the hands of last year’s grand finalists Souths Lions, head coach Tracey Baggs believes the team “were a bit outclassed” but turned it around as they found their feet.
“Souths Lions have a connection from quite a few years of playing together, plus we lost a player early … so that definitely doesn’t help,” Baggs said.
“By the second half we actually won more of Souths’ ball and scored off more of their centres so that was quite exciting.
“It shows we’re capable of matching [them] and getting the ball. It’s just a matter of working our combinations to stay in the game.”
Baggs also revealed injured Wests’ player Danielle Trayhurn may have suffered a grade 2 tear in her calf.
“Given that we have two weeks rest now that might be good for her [recovery],” Baggs said.
Trayhurn joins Abbie Johnson in the injury ward, and Baggs hopes their absences won’t be major early on in the campaign.
The return of Phoebe Seamer in the coming weeks may also mitigate any depth concerns, Baggs revealed.
“[Seamer] is an ex-state player so she will definitely add something to the team,” she said.
Also at 2.30pm, Forsythes Business Advisors struggled to find rhythm as they fell to BNC Whanau 45-34.
Later, West Leagues Balance 1 began their title defence with a strong defensive performance and a 39-22 win over Maryville Tavern Alize.
Coach Baggs, who also coaches Wests 1, was happy with the result despite a lack of match fitness and the absences of shooters Maddie Taylor and Rhiannon Stokes.
They were replaced by shooter Leilani Soli and goal attack Emma Price.
“We have a really serious line-up in the Wests 1 team,” Baggs said. “I normally play with four shooters, and although [Prince and Soli] had played together in the past, they were just finding pace together.”
“Maryville had a number of games last week and we didn’t play last week, so [we] were a little behind the eight-ball.”
Nova Thunder also began the season with a 43-31 win over Souths Pride.
Open Championship Standings: Souths Lions (3), West Leagues Balance 1 (3), Nova Thunder (3), BNC Whanau (3), Forsythes Business Advisors (1), Souths Pride (1), Maryville Tavern Alize (1), West Leagues Balance 2 (1).