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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

With the start of the 2012 season under a month away, takes a look at how each of the teams are shaping up in the lead up to the opening round.




With the start of the 2012 season under a month away, takes a look at how each of the teams are shaping up in the lead up to the opening round.



Andrea Wilson, Kelly Wilson, Lauren King, Toni Edmondson, Jamie-Lee Peris, Megan Moody, Ash Gilmore, Heather Oliver



Jane Chalmers, Sarah Strange, Nicole Goodridge, Tahnee Cannan, Elise Strachan



Kerryn Harrington (Sandringham), Renae Camino (Brisbane), Melissa Smith (WNBL), Lucy Dawson (Frankston), Lucy Spalding (Big V), Madeline Garrick (AIS), Skye Rees (Arkansas), Mia Newley (Launceston), Ebony Antonio (WNBL)




Apart from a tough little patch between rounds 6 and 10 where they face playoff teams from last year in four out of five games, the Lady Braves have a pretty good run. They take on finalists from last season only four times in their last 15 games, and Bendigo also have a couple of good runs at home where they play four out of fives games at Bendigo Stadium across rounds 7 to 11, followed by four out of six at home from rounds 17 to 20. Their only tough stretch on the road is over rounds 13 to 16 where they play only one game at home in six matches.



The number of incoming players means that Bendigo will be an entirely new look team this year, and that will make them unpredictable initially. There is also enough talent in the group that the team should be immediately competitive, with scoring options at all positions. With Mia Newley, Skye Rees and Melissa Smith joining the team, the Lady Braves also look like having an advantage in height over many other teams.



Stability, or rather lack thereof. If you took all the players that have departed and put them in a team, you would actually have a pretty good side. Replacing that amount of talent and having them hit the ground running will not be easy, so we may not see the best of the Lady Braves until mid-season.



The Franchise:

Newcomers Renae Camino and Mia Newley can expect a fair bit of pressure to come their way as the new franchise players. Camino averaged nearly 20 points a game two years ago and was also voted the most athletic player in the competition in last year’s players’ survey. Newley meanwhile was one of the best players in the paint last season, and has continued to develop and impress for Townsville in the WNBL.


Needs to step up:

Kerryn Harrington has had a superb summer playing at Bulleen under Tom Maher, and was one of Sandringham’s most consistent performers last year. However, for Bendigo to be a genuine threat, Harrington needs to lift her game to another level. If Camino and Newley draw the defensive pressure and Harrington finds herself being guarded by lesser defenders, she needs to punish opposition teams with her accurate shooting and ability to score off the dribble.


Watch out for…

Madeline Garrick has spent several years at the AIS and should be just about cherry ripe to develop into a valuable player over the next few years. Of the games she played for the AIS in the WNBL over this season, Garrick scored in all but one and recorded a season high of 14 against Canberra in November. A promising youngster and one to keep an eye on for the future.


Predicted Finish:

19 wins, 7 losses

Top 3, East Conference.