2016 Premier 1 Preview
With the tip-off of the 2016 Premier 1 Season almost upon us, Basketball ACT (“BACT”) takes a look at how each squad is shaping up.
Premier 1 Men
Returning Players – Tate Harris, Marijan Kovac, Obieze Moneke, Nick Morgan, Lachlan Ross
New Players – Tom Commins, Jason Freshwater, Tim Hewett, Dan Jackson, Tyone Mohammed, Tristan Scotcher
After a year which would no doubt have been seen as a disappointment by the Ramblers brass, this years team appear to have rebuilt overnight through the recruitment of new talent to the competition. With the outside shooting of Lachlan Ross and Dan Jackson surrounding the inside presence of big man Obieze Moneke, the Ramblers should have a well-balanced squad. When mixed in with the athleticism of Freshwater, Hewett and Commins and the veteran presence of Kovac, Harris and Morgan, look for the Ramblers to be the big improvers of 2016.
Returning Players – Ben Allen, Nathan Brown, Dean Hill, Paul Horsfall, Jarrod Phillips, Mitch Brown
New Players – Jack Braddock, Mikus Eversons, David Hawkins, Marko Laus, Jordan Phillips, Olan Scott
The return of 2015 Premier League MVP and Canberra Gunners big man Ben Allen is a huge coup for the Rats, however the loss of Jesse Wilesmith across the lake to the Weston Creek Woden Dodgers has to hurt. It will be up to young gun Nathan Brown to take over the point guard spot full time, something that he is more than capable of doing. Expect the Rats to play at a snail’s pace with a lot of veterans trudging up and down the court. Will experience triumph over the youth of other Clubs? That is the question to which the Rats hope the answer is a resounding yes.
Tuggeranong Southern Cross (“TSC”)
Returning Players – Pavle Davidovic, Danny Foulkes, Jarrod Hampton, Bul Kuol, Todd Nebauer, Bradly Nixon, Tremaine Richardson
New Players – N/A
TSC will be counting on the experience gained in last year’s competition to improve on their result. Another year of development should put Bul Kuol and Jarrod Hampton, fresh off strong performances at the Under 20 National Championships, in good stead. Can the supporting cast around the two young studs be enough to get TSC a finals birth in 2016? That will be up to Coach Danny Morseau to establish.
Returning Players – Evan Fowler, Sean Mills, Glenn Morison, Declan Pratt, Stephen Rowe, Jordan Sembel, James Toohey
New Players – Dylan Rawson
The Tuggeranong Vikings will enter as defending champions and will be clear favourites to take out the title once again. Despite the loss of Reece Kaye, the Vikings have added sharpshooter Dylan Rawson, who is fresh off a big season with the Sturt Sabres in the South Australian League. James Toohey has an additional year of experience under his belt, and will be hoping for a breakout season, and the always improving Shaun Mills will be counted on often throughout the season. The only question for Coach Pete Herak is how can he find enough minutes and shots to go around?
Returning Players – Sam Adams, Michael Ashton, Aaron Coddington, Chris Hartmann, Nicholas Jackson, Eric Malcolm, Andrew Murphy, Jack Muston
New Players – Jon Harris
The Wests Magpies will be hoping that the three “C’s” of Culture, Continuation and Chemistry carry over as they return a line up very similar to last year’s runner-up squad. With the coaching torch being handed back to BACT Life Member Jerry Lee, Wests will be hoping to go one better in 2016. Nick Jackson will be hoping his preseason form for the Gunners carries to the Premier season after rumours of his exit to a rival Club proved to be false.
Weston Creek Woden Dodgers (“WCWD”)
Returning Players – Dylan Simpson, Mitch McGee, Jordan Rowe, Nathan Smith
New Players – Jesse Wilesmith, Josh Hathaway
As of the time of writing, the Dodgers had not yet finalised their roster for the season. The core group will be returning however, and with the addition of firecracker point guard Jesse Wilesmith, and the athletic and experienced Josh Hathaway, the Dodgers will be vying for the most improved team accolade throughout the season.
Premier 1 Women
Returning Players – Ashleigh Evans, Annabelle Lindsay,
New Players – N/A
Although the Ramblers had not finalised their roster at the time of writing, expect the squad to begin somewhat of a rebuilding process, due to the loss of Ellie Junod (Albury) and Molly McPhee (St Mary’s College). With a strong crop of youngsters, it should not be a lengthy rebuild before the Ramblers are once again competing for the title.
Returning Players – Dunja Cvjeticanin, Gemma Everett, Eleanor Harries
New Players – Michelle Patt, Amelia Robertson, Maria Worner, Nikki Worner
The big story for the Rats is Michelle Patt returning to play for her home Club, and as a result the Rats will be expecting an improved result in the upcoming season. If the Rats can find one or two ‘diamonds in the rough,’ they will be thinking positively about their own chances for a Finals berth.
Returning Players – Jessica Bibby, Callie Bourne, Isabelle Bourne, Taela Hitchcock, Bridie Macdonald, Nalani Makunde, Erin Maplesdon, Hope Pateman, Sophie Perkins, Emma Rowcliffe
New Players – N/A
The rebuild of the Norths Premier Women’s program appears to be nearing completion, as the youth has now developed to a point where they will be competitive week in and week out. Add in a full season of recent WNBL retiree Jess Bibby and Norths will be expecting big things from a program that has not seen the Finals for a long time.
Returning Players – Sophie Anderson, Abbie Davis, Hayley Douglas, Tegan Ketels, Lauren Simpson, Olivia Simpson, Julie Ticehurst
New Players – N/A
With Abbie Davis having returned after missing the majority of the 2015 season, the Vikings come into this season with a much more rounded squad than last year. The combination, and play, of Douglas, Ticehurst and Davis will go a long way in determining the team’s results for the year. A big question mark is the contribution they are able to get from Olivia Simpson, if and when she is home from her American College season.
Returning Players – Emma Bourne, Alexia Hamilton, Chelsea Hamilton, Sarah Taylor, Stephanie Shipard, Tracey Beatty
New Players – Yar Mayen
The always-strong Magpies will be hoping a full season with former WNBL champion Tracey Beatty will give them the veteran presence inside that they need to return to the Grand Final, after falling short last year. With a lot of youth on the roster, Wests will be looking for the Club’s proud tradition of development to shine through.
Returning Players – Alice Coddington, Jennifer Crewdson, Nedesda Dorsoski, Claire King, Kristen Langhorn, Michaela Leonard, Sarah McAppion, Ella Oakley, Carlie Smith, Belinda Turk
New Players – N/A
The reigning champion Dodgers will again come into the season with a strong squad, boasting the WNBL talent of Coddington and McAppion. It will be interesting to see how the Dodgers handle the possible mid-season loss of Langhorn however, as she moves up North to play in the Queensland Basketball League. Expect a big year from the ever-improving Carlie Smith, as she hopes her form in SEABL preseason carries through the Premier season.
By Dan Jackson