YARRA Valley Grammar Ariels knew they were an improved side heading into their Victorian Netball League season opener against Geelong on Wednesday night.
But the size of their 60-38 win left the Ariels a little surprised as new goal circle pairing Candice Adams and Sophie O'Shea shot at 85 per cent, with Adams making 32 of 37 shots.
Ariels coach Christina Puopolo said her side would take a lot of confidence from the result.
"We weren't sure where we are sitting - we still feel we had a fair bit of improvement to go," Puopolo said.
"But it all seemed to come together on Wednesday night, everything we did worked and the girls stuck to the game plan really well."
Puopolo said a 19-9 third term helped take the Ariels' lead to 18 goals entering the final change, which let her play some of her younger bench players in the final term.
"The girls are very fit and we played with good intensity," she said.
Ariels captain Caitlyn Strachan was also exceptional at wing attack while Micaela Wilson excelled at goal defence.
Strachan also got a ringing endorsement for her efforts in playing for ANZ championship runners-up, the Melbourne Vixens, during their pre-season tournament on February 24.
Strachan was drafted into the Vixens side for the last practice match of their tournament and Puopolo said she put in a solid match at wing attack.
"She was sort of an injury replacement for the Vixens and got to play all four quarters of the last match," Puopolo said.
"She was a little nervous in the first few minutes but I think she was really good and the feedback I got from the Vixens was that they were very happy with her.
"We are all about giving our players the opportunity to play at the next level so we were very happy for her."