Gisborne upset Sandhurst

Keara Fitzgerald was one of Gisborne's best on Saturday. Picture Shawn Smits.

By Tara Murray

Gisborne has ended Sandhurst’s unbeaten streak in the Bendigo Netball League.

The third placed Bulldogs showed that they could not only match the top sides, but come away with the points.

On Saturday, they led all day against the Dragons but were never able to blow the margin out.

The Bulldogs eventually winning. 50-47.

Both sides were missing players due to Victorian Netball League matches the following day, and it was the Bulldogs who adjusted the better.

Bulldogs coach Kim Bailey was thrilled with win.

“It was a very good win considering we didn’t have our shooters Clare Vearing and Ella Bertacchini,” she said.

“They didn’t have their wing attack Meg Williams or goal defence Heather Oliver. I think it was harder not having two goals.

“They really stuck to the game plan and had a lot of composure.”

With both shooters missing, the Bulldogs changed their line up around and brought up four A-reserve players to help give options..

Bailey said the changes showed the depth they have in their squad, which some people questioned earlier in the year.

“Maddy  Stewart come out of defence and into the circle and we brought Rylee Connell up from A-reserve.

“Maddy is such a great feeder to Rhylee. She missed a couple of shots, but she was so strong and able to get the rebounds.

“We brought Clare Anderson up into wing defence, while Keara Fitzgerald moved into goal keeper and Melinda Luke moved into goal defence.”

Bailey said Fitzgerald and midcourter Tiana Newman were the standouts in the win.

She said Fitzgerald and Luke, who are two of the younger players in the team, have matured both on and off the court this season.

The win has the Bulldogs sitting third, six points behind Sandhurst which remains on top.

They are four points behind Eaglehawk, with the top two sides playing each other this week.

For the Bulldogs, they face three sides looking to play finals in the run home.

“The three sides are vying for fifth spot…. It ill be really tough and we have to be on our toes,” Bailey said.

Of the other Bulldogs teams, two others remain in contention to play finals.

The A-reserve side need to win every game and hope results go their way, while the under-17 team sides in the top five.

Bailey said they were excited by the under-17 talent that was in not only that side and the higher grades.

“If we can keep the local girls around, there’s no reason why we can’t win it in the next couple of years, hopefully this year.”