* indicates required
Having already signed ten players for 2013, the team looks pretty settled and focused for the year ahead. The creation of a leadership group instead of a sole captaincy sees Kylie Morrissy, Candice Rogers, Cortney Wiliamson and Emily Koroneos stepping up as the united voice of the players. Caitlin Shadbolt also returns to the lineup for her third year. Alex Duck joins the team from Albury/Wodonga, while Bianca Cheever steps up from Big V. Up and coming young players Ebony Rolph and Grace Parker will be an integral part of the SEABL bench, while still suiting up in the Big V Victorian Youth Championship team where the SEABL schedule allows. Madeleine White, although involved in a car accident last month, is recovering well and is expected to be back with the team and on court just after Easter.
Star WNBL player Deanna Smith announced at the end of this season that she would not be returning as she made the move to Western Australia to play for the West Coast Waves, while Clare Ralph headed back to Nunawading due to travel and work commitments. Anna Teague and Jess Watson will still be Supercats colours, but suiting up for the Division 1 Big V team in 2013.
The roster leaves just two spots open, one for 2012 import Abby Schrader, who is expected to return but has not yet officially signed, and a second restricted player spot. Coach Paul O’Brien has been chasing several key players to fill the remaining spot, but an announcement is yet to be made on who the final piece of the puzzle will be.
“We’ve been really pleased with pre-season so far. Obviously Madeleine White’s accident has interuppted her pre-season but thankfully it was not more serious and there won’t be any long term barriers. Alex Duck has fitted in to the team seamlessly and her attitude, work ethic and professionalism are jsut outstanding. We’ve lost four pretty key players but the signings we have made with still another to come fill those voids really well.
“Once we come back in January we will gradually increase our training intensity and the expectations of the group ready for March 16th,” said head coach Paul O’Brien.
DEPARTED PLAYERS – Deanna Smith (WA), Anna Teague (Big V), Jess Watson (Big V), Clare Ralph (Nunawading)
RETURNING PLAYERS – Kylie Morrissy, Candice Rogers, Cortney Williamson, Emily Koroneos, Caitlin Shadbolt, Abby Schrader (TBC), Grace Parker
NEW PLAYERS – Alex Duck (Albury/Wodonga), Bianca Cheever (Big V), Ebony Rolph (Big V)
TO BE CONFIRMED – Abby Schrader, second restricted player
The Geelong Supercats SEABL men have also signed eight players – with five returning from 2012, including import Theron Wilson. The return of Nathan Herbert after a year off is a welcome addition to the team, and new import Mike Mercer looks to be the goods. Possibly the biggest and most unexpected signing to come was the coup of Ash Cannan returning from Canada and choosing to settle in Geelong.
With a few more roster spots still up for grabs, the door remains open for 2012 youngsters Nathan Freind and Lachlan Headlam to once again step up. However, Werribbee’s Kristian Rocci has also been training with the team and impressed in the exhibiton match against the Chinese development team. With the Victorian Youth Championships now a stronger competition, it could see the likes of Freind and Headlam getting more court time in the youth team and being called up to SEABL when required.
A coaching change has also occurred in the off season with long time assistant coach Allen McKee moving to the Corio Bay Stingrays youth team, and 2012 Big V Division 1 Supercats assistant coach Graham Byworth moving in to the vacant SEABL assistant position.
Head Coach Jamie O’Loughlin said that the final roster places in the senior team would not be decided until a few weeks before the start of the season. The team will travel for the third year to the Millicent pre-season tournament, after which the final team selections will be made.
“So far in pre-season we’ve been working on individual skill development. It’s been a chance for guys to work on their own game in small group sessions, with a few guys just owkring on rehabilitation and strength. We’re excited about the roster we’ve put together for 2013, we will be a bit deeper than we were this year with the pick ups we’ve made. Which is obviously important, with 28 games over 21 weeks, it’s a very action packed season,” said O’Loughlin.
DEPARTED PLAYERS – Kimmani Barrett (inj), David Mecanovic (inj)
RETURNING PLAYERS – Jamie Medved, Nick Owusu, Seb Loader, Theron Wilson, Dominic Friend
NEW PLAYERS – Nathan Herbert, Mike Mercer (import), Ash Cannan (Brisbane)
TO BE CONFIRMED – Nathan Freind, Lachlan Headlam, Keith Harrison