BATHURST Bushrangers got their AFL Central West women's campaign off to a winning start on Saturday against the Orange Tigers in the face of player unavailabilities.
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Bushrangers ran out 7-6-48 to 5-4-34 winners at Waratahs, overcoming a sluggish scoreless third quarter to run away with the contest in the closing term.
Slow conditions didn't make for free flowing football at the Orange ground but the Bushrangers adapted well to run out to a 33 to eight advantage at half-time.
Tigers looked threatening in the final quarter, picking up three goals, but Bushrangers picked up two majors of their own to keep the advantage.
It was a solid way to start the season for the Bathurst squad considering they had 11 players unavailable for the trip west.
Bushrangers co-coach Brian Matheson said the team's new players were up for the challenge.
"It was a good game and pretty hard fought, which I feel like it always is against Orange. The boggy ground didn't make for pretty footy and we had quite a lot of new players out there, so we were very happy with how it went," he said.
"We had Emily Thurlow playing her first game and she was our player's player. She had a blinder of a game. All the goals were spread throughout our team. Tomika Speer was also fantastic in the back line.
"The challenged us a bit in the third quarter but we were able to kick away a little bit with a few goals later into the game."
Tigers outscored Bushrangers 20-15 in the high scoring final quarter but the visitors made the right adjustments to limit the damage.
"They certainly came back late but our more experienced girls stepped up to get us clear," Matheson said.
"This game was mostly about seeing how the new girls would cope with their first game and they all did really well and they enjoyed it, which was the main thing.
"Ciara Kearns, our captain who normally plays in the backline, went into the forwards and played well. It was great to have her experience up there.
"I'm sure the girls will continue to learn more and more with each game."
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