Bursting with pride rather than aching heartbreak was the overwhelming emotion for the Tasmania Devils.
Coach Trent Bartlett could not speak highly enough of the rookie girls in the wake of facing the unknown at their first two NAB League games.
The Devils bounced back from a 37-point defeat in a goalless debut against Western Jets to nearly hang on for victory over Eastern Ranges.
"The improvement from the first game to the second was unbelievable. We were just rapt with them," he said.
The visitors was set for an upset in just their second outing together on Sunday under the new under-18 program that Tasmania will join next year on a full-time basis.
Leading from the outset, the Devils only conceded the lead when Serena Gibbs put the Ranges in front over the back of the goal square to win 3.3 (21) to 2.4 (16).
"I can say we were very unlucky to get a win. It was one of those games that you just had the sense that they could bag one here," Bartlett said.
That nailbiter was in stark contrast to Tasmania's sorry opener on Friday night.
The Jets had little trouble of disposing of their rivals in a 5.8 (38) to 0.1 (1) result.
"There was never a focus on the results in either game, but I think the girls got a really big shock in the first game," Bartlett said.
"Just the physicality of the Victorian girls, their skill level and they came to play.
"Not that our girls didn't, but the effort from our girls was just okay, but they got a lesson what the next level is.
"I think the most pleasing thing was that virtually 24 hours they stepped up and matched them physically."
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