The efforts of Emily Atlee on the weekend was a good indication of Dubbo's performance in the opening round of the HART Regional League West Central West competition on the weekend.
Dubbo Netball Association's Division 1 side may have only won one of five matches played at the Orange PCYC but there was plenty of positives for coach Sam Rummans.
One of the biggest of those was the performances of Atlee, a 17-year-old making her first foray into the representative netball scene.
Atlee was one of a number of newcomers to the Division 1 side at Orange and Rummans is keen to see her and her teammates continue improving in this coming weekend's second round.
"Emily Atlee, she's only 17 and hasn't played Regional League or any rep netball before but she went straight into Division 1 and she was fantastic," Rummans said.
"She was probably our best on-court in the last game against Bathurst and she really impressed with her maturity and she showed great improvement from the first game to last."
Rummans was never setting any huge goals for her side heading into the opening round given the strength of the representative programs in Orange and Bathurst.
The focus was on development and that was achieved as the side showed great improvement after a 30-15 opening round loss to Orange.
Rummans' side fell just short in its next match, going down to Bathurst by three goals, before a narrow 20-19 win was recorded over Forbes.
Another defeat to Orange followed before yet another tight match against Bathurst, which finished 32-28.
"Orange and Bathurst are quite strong so we weren't expecting a whole lot," Rummans admitted.
"So to lose by three and then four (to Bathurst) was very good.
"We only put these teams together and had just two training sessions and with all the new players, to see how they worked together was really good."
Captain and assistant coach Michelle Williams was one of three returning players in the team, alongside Bec Weekes and Sarah Bridges.
Improvement is the top priority for us.Sam Rummans
The performance of that trio is vital this season given their experience and they will look to set the tone in this weekend's second round when Dubbo plays Orange, Bathurst, and Forbes twice.
"Improvement is the top priority for us," Rummans said, looking forward.
"Keep developing and hopefully keep the squad together for the next few years and that would be good to build those connections and make a stronger side."
Dubbo's Division 2 side, coached by Weekes, is an under 17s team which again uses the Regional League as the chance to gain representative experience.
The team failed to win a game on the weekend but the campaign is about much more than results.
"It's good for teamwork and bonding and being in Division 2 is a challenge for them," Rummans said.
Orange dominated the opening round in Division 1, winning each of its five games.
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