Northern Knights with big win

Ellie McKenzie. Picture Shawn Smits

Tara Murray

Northern Knights produced one of their better wins in their NAB League Girls history to defeat Dandenong Stingrays on Saturday.

The Knights, who entered the game undefeated, didn’t have it all their own way and had to come from behind at half time.

They set the win up in the third quarter with five goals to one, before kicking the only goal of the last quarter to seal the 8.8 (56)-5.3 (33) win.

Knights coach Marcus Abney-Hastings said there was a really strong response from the playing group after not scoring a goal in the first quarter.

He said the match was the next stage of development for many of the girls.

“It was one of the better wins I’ve been involved in with the Knights to be quite honest,” he said.

“Dandenong is a really good side. For them in the first quarter to really hit the front and play well and for us to fight back was great character from our girls.

“In the last little bit we haven’t been behind too many times, it was great for our girls learning to fight back from being in that position, especially with the tricky conditions with the wind and different things, really pleasing for the girls.”

It was the Knights leaders that stood up when it was needed especially in the third quarter.

Abney-Hastings said they were able to help get the others involved, with some of the bottom age players standing up at key moments.

Co-captains Ellie McKenzie and Jess Fitzgerald had 28 possessions each, with Fitzgerald also kicking two goals.

Alyssa Bannan also kicked two goals.

“They [Fitzgerald and McKenize] had wonderful captain’s games,” Abney-Hastings said.

“They were really consistent through the four quarters, even when times were a little bit tougher they fought through and pulled the girls together.

“Ashleigh Snow in the midfield really strong. She’s had a really strong start to the season.

“Tarrah Delgafo down back was also really strong down back.”

The win has the Knights sitting 3-0 and top of the ladder.

Abney-Hastings said while the win-loss record is good, it’s the development of the side in a short period of time which is most impressive.

“We’ve used 31 players already in three game,” he said.

“We decided as a coaching staff with Nat Grindal, our talent manager, to go this way. It’s great for the girls as the competition has gotten so good at the moment and there’s no easy games.

“It’s great learning and development to play against strong opposition.

“We’ve got about three or four players left to play and they will probably play in the next few weeks.

“The development we’ve seen over the pre-season, and especially the last three games, is really reassuring for our program.”

The Calder Cannons got their first win of the season on Sunday, defeating the Bendigo Pioneers.

It was a dominant performance by the Cannons, who won 7.8 (50)-1.1 (7).

Freda Puruntatameri kicked two goals for the Cannons, while Georgie Prespakis had 32 possessions and eight tackles.