Bulldogs Verdelho beat Panthers A to win city’s top grade netball title | Photos

BULLDOGS Verdelho have claimed their second Bathurst Netball Association A grade grand final triumph in three years thanks to a 43-31 win over Panthers A on Saturday.

A strong opening half from the Bulldogs helped set up the title-winning day, as they rocketed out to a 23-11 lead at the main break.

Bulldogs shot better in the windy conditions and linked up well when attempting to make their way into the Panthers’ circle.

Had a couple more shots fallen in the early stages for Panthers then it could have been a different story.

“It was really windy today, and we talked about that. We talked about keeping the passes short and easing the ball down the court. We did that. Panthers got a couple of shots early but then the wind started to catch a couple of their passes,” Bulldogs coach Michael Germech said.

“We brought a few new players on in the second half and we wanted to make sure they got a good run. From that point on it was all about keeping control of the game.

“We got that decent lead at half-time and that allowed us to ease into the second half.

“Our shooters today were Olivia Johnston and Danita Lane. Olivia’s only in the 17s and she ran the baseline so well. Danita did such a good job protecting the space for her to be able to run into that.

“Grace [Broadfield] and Kate [Burns] caught just about every rebound in defence today.”

Bulldogs looked strong in their own third of the court across the opening quarter and forced Panthers into some risky long range passes.

Most of the time that didn’t work out for the women in black and the Bulldogs’ accuracy under the hoop began to apply the pressure.

The game looked certain to remain a goal-for-goal affair until the end of the quarter before the Bulldogs shot four unanswered points for an 11-6 lead.

Shots simply refused to drop for Panthers in the second quarter. In their first 10 possessions of the quarter they found only two goals.

Bulldogs were also having the odd missed shot in the tricky conditions, but they were having much less trouble creating opportunities.

A 6-1 run of points midway through the quarter in favour of Bulldogs had the Panthers needing a miracle to work their way back into the game.

The third quarter was the best of the game for the Panthers. Their passes found the mark more often as players found space.

Little could separate the two teams across the back half of the game in a much more closely fought tussle.

Both teams played out a scrappy final quarter as Bulldogs maintained their 12 point margin from half-time.