West Leagues Balance 1 defeated South Lions as they faced off again in the first grand final rematch of the campaign, but outside of a lopsided first quarter the match was hotly contested.

The defending champions walked away 49-35 victors to remain atop the Greater Open Championship standings, largely in thanks to the 16-4 scoreline to start the match.

After recovering from the 12 goal deficit at the first quarter break, the Lions recovered enough to bring the match back to within 5 at the half.

Wests took full advantage of their control through the scoreline however, and over the course of the second half the champions’ rotating three scorers stretched the difference to 14 goals.

Tracey Baggs said she was “very, very happy” to get the win after injuries and absences – Tara Andrews, Leilani Soli and Danielle Cannizzo were all out for the third round.

She praised the squad’s “strong start” and 12-goal lead that set them in good stead for the remainder of the match.

“We did say it was swinging a little bit [in the middle of the match] but because we had such a strong start it set the foundation so it was very hard for Souths to come back,” Baggs said.

“We’re still relying a lot on our senior players in the team, but everyone who comes on is doing their role really well.”

Baggs pointed to shooter Maddie Taylor as someone who made a key difference in the match as she continues to be “strong at the post”, but highlighted the strength of Souths’ defence through most of the match.

She also praised Kimberley Goodearl and Mikenzie McManus, as well as Sophie Buckley’s ability to “dictate play in the centre” for the win.

Earlier, Forsythes Business Advisors opened their account three weeks into the season with a 37-31 win over newly promoted West Leagues Balance 1.

BNC Whanau put a stop to Nova Thunder’s undefeated start to the season as they ran out 41-35 winners, moving level with Nova and the Lions in the standings, while Maryville Tavern Alize kept Souths Pride as the only winless team in the competition after a 47-36 victory.

First published as: Opening quarter barrage decides grand final rematch