North Warrnambool captain Rachael Batten says the calibre of young talent coming through its side is a promising sign for the future.
The Eagles are 1-1-1 to start the year, but were without the physical presence of coach and midcourter Skye Billings in their loss to Warrnambool on Saturday.
Instead, the Eagles leaned into a more youthful attack, with wing attack Nikiah Thomas pulling double duties in under 17s and open, while promising shooter Tahni Porter continued to showcase her athleticism in goal attack.
Bookended by the experience of Maddison Vardy and Victoria Grundy in centre and goal shooter respectively, the Eagles' attack put in a dominant first quarter showing before falling behind in the second.
"I think it was just our own little mistakes and we fell flat, just a bit of tiredness, and a few injuries as well," Batten said post-match. "But Ash (Ferguson) came on (in wing defence) and did a really good job, and we have our under 17s, Nikiah, who also played a full game with them."
Batten is impressed by the endeavour of the club's younger players.
"We have a lot of young girls coming through that are really promising, and they'll be really good assets for us," Batten said.
"It's such good experience for them. Nikiah, Tahni, even Phoebe (Wittmann), they're like sponges. You tell them what to do, and they'll work on it and they'll work hard."
Despite the mixed start to the season, Batten believes Saturday's result affords opportunity for growth.
"You learn a lot from a loss," she said. "If you're going to lose, it's better to do it this half of the season. We've just got to keep going, keep working hard on things behind the scenes and then put it on the court. We'll sharpen up and we should be okay."
We have a lot of young girls coming up, and they'll be really good assets for us.- Eagles captain Rachael Batten
North Warrnambool hosts Hamilton in round four, with the Kangaroos going through their own growing pains.
Following their loss to Portland on Monday, the Kangaroos have a sharp five-day turnaround before Saturday's game with injuries to half the squad plaguing the club.
Coach Nat O'Dea said the side would need to rely on division one talent to usher it through the next few games.
It's a tough introduction to the competition for O'Dea, who is in her first season as open grade coach.
"The talent is amazing" she said. "The girls will be fine and obviously the feel at the minute is a bit low but the high point for us (on Saturday) was the division one girls played beyond themselves. You've got to take the positives out of negatives, so we've just got to build as a group and keep supporting each other."
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