Shepparton made a powerful statement on Saturday.
The top-of-the-table Goulburn Valley League netball clash between the Bears and Echuca was billed as a blockbuster fixture, but at quarter-time the air had already been taken out of the contest.
Shepparton stormed to a 12-goal lead at the first change and was never headed, eventually taking out the high-scoring match 71-53.
‘‘I think it was really set up in the first quarter for us,’’ Shepparton coach Tracey Brereton said.
‘‘It was about 21-9 at quarter-time. The girls went out hard, but we were very calm about it which helped.’’
Brereton struggled to single out her star players in another all-round team performance, but one name certainly stood out.
‘‘Kim Commane was in outstanding form,’’ Brereton said.
‘‘The whole team really did their role and that’s what you want.
‘‘We’ve just got to keep winning so we can put some separation on the other teams and not have to chase games in the back half of the season.’’
Laura Ryan and Ash Cann were also influential for the Bears, but even Echuca coach Gina Pearson could do nothing but heap praise on Commane’s efforts.
‘‘Kim makes a huge difference on the court,’’ Pearson said.
‘‘She probably only missed two goals for the game and would have shot over 50, she just makes it look so easy.
‘‘There’s nobody in the competition that would even go near her as a goaler and I don’t think there’s a defender or even pair of defender’s that can go close either.
‘‘I think we just got Kim-focused in the end and I don’t think there’s any point in that, we just need to focus on what we can do to stop the ball getting down there.’’
The Murray Bombers improved after the first term — with Olivia Hannon, Holly Long and Erin Hill standing out — but Pearson knows her side can get much closer to the Bears next time around.
‘‘They were definitely better than us on the day, but I think it could have been closer,’’ Pearson said.
‘‘Shooting 53 goals ourselves in nothing to sneeze at.
‘‘But probably the most important thing is that we need to score on every centre pass and we just turned the ball over too many times.
‘‘We’ve got the scoring power but we just need to look after the ball more.’’
The Bears are two games clear on top of the ladder, while the Murray Bombers have dropped to third.