Maddison Trunk was named among the best for The Entrance Bateau Bay as they chalked up their first win of the 2019 season over Muswellbrook. Image via Geoff Robinson.

The Entrance Bateau Bay have got off the mark in the AFLHCC Women’s competition, defeating Muswellbrook 47-8 in front of their home fans at the Bateau Bay Sports Facility on Saturday afternoon.

Considering the Blues have come into 2019 season looking to continue their multi-year plan to “become a competitive outfit” on the Central Coast, in the Hunter, and beyond, head coach David Reed said he sees victories like the 39-point win for his side in the eighth round as “just rewards” for his ever-learning group of stars.

“I have a fantastic group at the club, they’re great players, and great people, and to get wins like these for us is a real positive as we continue to aim up at our three or four year objective that we’ve set ourselves,” Reed said after the Blues’ win

“It obviously makes me and all the girls very happy to get the win, but I also wouldn’t say we’re too disappointed with how the first seven rounds of the competition have gone either,” he added. “We’ve taken on that development and progression mindset which puts the scoreboard second over learning something every game, win or lose.”

Kayla Reed scored two for the Blues in the seven major to one battle. Katrina Barnes, Rhiannon Hall, Tiarn Green, Zoe Ifield, and Ocean Hampton also scored for the home side, while Ellie Adam kicked the Cats’ only six-pointer of the afternoon.

After a difficult 2018 that saw The Entrance Bateau Bay record just one win in their sixteen outings, Reed knew that learning and growing was going to be the song of the club as they marched forward in the competition.

For the Blues coach, the girls’ response in 2019, as well as the win over Muswellbrook, have proven to him he made the right call.

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“We’re going through a lot of stepping stones for the girls, and this win is another one of those in my mind,” Reed said to the Chronicle. “We’re heading in the right direction with what we’re learning. Last season we were suffering these 200-point defeats, and this season you can see that we’ve brought that way down all over. We’re right on track.

“The girls know exactly where we’re at, and what we want to do in the future, and that always helps. Building honesty and respect, and a good reputation in the league, has been our main goal recently, and every time we finish a game the girls are getting congratulated for sticking in the contest right to the last. That’s what I want to see.”

Despite the club’s primary focus being on developing rather than ticking off wins in their campaign, it also stands to reason that they have a chance for more victories in the near future. A run of games to start their 2019 included teams like Maitland (now 7-0), Killarney Vale (7-1), and Cardiff, Newcastle, and Wyong (all 6-2 after eight rounds).

Most teams would have struggled to claim points in that run, Reed said. The Blues boss knows that the hardest part is behind his developing squad, and now the chance to put some wins on the board looms on the horizon.

“We all looked at the draw, and knew that the first half of the season was going to gruelling as we faced all those strong teams,” he said. “Our focus was to take things away from the games, and we did that.

“Now we’re facing teams that we’re on par with, and our challenge is going to be different. We want to use these games now as a catalyst to put what we’ve learned into practice. If that learning transpires to get us more wins, than so be it.”

Cardiff’s Minerva Bailey played a big role in the final moments of the Hawks-Magpies clash.

Also on the weekend, Lake Macquarie moved into the top eight with a 62-8 win over Port Stephens at Ferodale Park. Elsewhere, Killarney Vale defeated Wallsend-West Newcastle 19.14-128 to 0.2-2 to keep control of second. Angela Jones kicked six majors, while Ashleigh Page slotted five more in the Bombers’ nineteen goal tally.

At No.1 Sportsground, Newcastle City ousted Nelson Bay 13.8-86 to 3.1-19 to keep pace with their 6-2 record, while Cardiff dragged Wyong Lakes into the finals battle with a 7.5-47 to 5.4-40 win over the Magpies at Don Small Oval. Aleece Williams was key for Wyong in the go-forward, kicking four, but her haul was cancelled out by Minerva Bailey, who slotted two late to complete her hat-trick and give Cardiff the crucial seven-point win.

Maitland have taken solo posession of first place in their 2019 campaign, as they emerged victorious in a tight 4.4-28 to 2.7-19 clash with fellow undefeated side Terrigal Avoca. While the Panthers had more opportunities, and notched nine point-scoring kicks, on-target majors were the difference makers at Max McMahon Oval.

Newcastle and Nelson Bay battled through the wet at No.1 Sportsground on Saturday.

Jessie Burnham was the only multi-goal scorer of the afternoon, kicking two for the league leaders, while Ashlee Fennell and Rhianon Denniss both added key conversions. Darneka Rowe and Bronte Korsch scored for Terrigal Avoca.

Finally, Singleton scored an automatic win after Gosford were forced to forfeit on Saturday afternoon, while Warners Bay had the eighth round bye.

STANDINGS: Maitland (100%), Killarney Vale, Terrigal Avoca (85%), Wyong Lakes, Newcastle, Cardiff (75%), Singleton (62%), Lake Macquarie (50%), Wallsend-West Newcastle (33%), Warners Bay, Port Stephens (28%), Gosford (14%), The Entrance Bateau Bay (12%), Nelson Bay, Muswellbrook (0%).