It was a "super proud" Tash Robinson watching from the sidelines on Saturday as her young Fusion Heat side opened their Rawson Homes A grade premiership defence with a 49-24 win over the Narromine Hawks.
The captain only played the first and third quarters of Saturday's season opener to allow some of Heat's newer recruits to gel, and Hannah Spittles and Georgie Conway rose to the challenge.
Conway was on fire in the shooting circle while at the other end of the court Spittles "dominated" in defence alongside 2018 grand final star Britt Hill.
"We were a bit slow that first quarter, I think there were a few nerves from some of the new girls," Robinson said.
"But by the second quarter we just fired and pretty much unstoppable from there ... Our shooting end especially just stepped it up.
"Hannah was very nervous - she's the second youngest in the team I believe - so for her to come out and have a really solid game, especially with someone like Britt ... well done."
The contest was tight at the start as both teams searched for connections and the Heat in particular struggled against the Hawks' height in the absence of towering shooter Michelle Regan (illness).
Narromine goal keeper Rosie Nott was especially dominant in her first game after taking the 2018 season off.
"Playing with her in the circle again, it just feels like normal again - like old times," Hawks captain and goal defence Trudy Althofer said.
The opening minutes were tight as the two teams traded points until a run of seven straight goals from Conway and 16-year-old Izzy Attwater put Fusion 12-4 up at the first break.
They led 25-12 at half time, and extended it to 41-16 after a dominant third quarter.
But the Hawks never surrendered in their A Grade debut, and pegged the margin back to 49-24 at the final siren.
"We only just met some of our players today," Althofer said.
"So finding out what they look like and what they do, so it's nice and they're good, they're lovely people so we'll make some good combinations."
It was not the Hawks' choice to step up to A Grade this season, after they took out the A Reserve title in 2018.
But Robinson predicted they would become a "force to reckoned with".
"I think they're an A Grade team," she said.
"They have the talent, they have the stamina, they definitely have the height!
"That last quarter they definitely came back and gave it to us ... I think once they play a few more games together at this, a bit higher intensity, I think that they'll be a force to be reckoned with."
Althofer said "we'll gel because we're all here for the right reasons".
"Our club is built on positive talk on-court ... we try to really encourage each other and we also like to have fun and always try and play with a smile on our face," the Narromine skipper said.
"Narromine is a great club and they're fully behind us. They knew that we didnt want to play A Grade ... so the club is very supportive and every time we put our colours on, we feel like the whole town and club's behind us so we're lucky.
"To play the Fusion team that won A Grade [last year], we rattled them a little bit at the beginning which is nice, and we can only go up from here hopefully."