Round one MSBL Power Rankings
1. Lakeside Lightning (first, 2-0 record) - The Lightning are already top of the table and don't be surprised if they're there for the whole season. They were dominant against Rockingham, while below their best but still convincing winners against East Perth.
2. Australian Belt Scrapers Wanneroo Wolves (third, 2-0) - There were some positive signs out of the first weekend for Wanneroo, who didn't play especially great but did enough to beat Kalamunda and Cockburn. Add in Greg Hire and possibly Brad Robbins and it is a scarily deep and talented team.
3. Southlands Boulevarde Willetton Tigers (fourth, 1-0) - Absolutely belted Stirling in a strong sign the Tigers are set to improve. The highlight of their weekend though was the return of Shamus Ballantyne and the positive signs he showed.
4. Perth Redbacks (second, 2-0) - There were some huge positives to take out of the weekend for Perth. By holding the Suns and Cougars to 85 and 88 points in their two victories they showed they've made big defensive improvements, while the comeback over Cockburn showed tremendous character. They're legitimate top four contenders.
5. Sun City Plumbing Geraldton Buccaneers (sixth, 1-1) - The first road trip was pretty disappointing for the Buccs. A huge win over the Slammers was expected, but to be losing to Mandurah isn't a great sign. With a new import still to come in they can still contend, but Willetton will be a big test.
6. Total Connections Perry Lakes Hawks (fifth, 1-0) - The Hawks showed great determination to overcome a late deficit and the absence of Ben Purser for much of the game to beat Mandurah. They face Perth on Saturday in a big test of their top four ambitions.
7. Cockburn Cougars (10th, 0-2) - On the face of things, it may seem strange for a team to move up after two losses. But they really took it to two very good teams, despite the absence of an import, and did well enough against Wanneroo to show they're likely finalists again.
8. Silver Lake Resources Goldfields Giants (ninth, 1-1) - Inconsistency and a poor road record were a big part in Goldfields' downfall last year and they were on display again on the weekend. To be blown out by 25 points to Stirling is very discouraging and they need to bounce back quickly.
9. Mandurah Magic (seventh, 1-1) - The glaring thing to take out of the Magic from round one is, when he is fit, Taylor Mullenax is one of the best players in the league. Will look legitimate final contenders if they can beat Stirling.
10. John Hughes Stirling Senators (eighth, 1-1) - As has been typical in recent seasons, Stirling were woeful on Saturday and excellent on Sunday. On their day they can beat anyone, but they'll need to be at that level more consistently to make the playoffs this year.
11. People's Choice East Perth Eagles (11th, 0-1) - East Perth showed things they rarely have in a competitive loss to Lakeside - serious determination, fight and spirit. They may be a little short on talent, but Adam Forde clearly has this young group on the right path.
12. Kalamunda Eastern Suns (12th, 0-2) - After getting blown out on Friday, the Suns performed better to keep Wanneroo close on Saturday. But it's going to take major improvement to get them in finals contention.
13. Rockingham Peel Finance Flames (13th, 0-2) - Rockingham certainly aren't the only team to get blown out at Lakeside in recent years, but it could be a sign of things to come. They're big underdogs against Wanneroo, but they at least need to put up a fight.
14. Collie Crane Hire South West Slammers (14th, 0-1) - To describe a 38 point opening round loss at home to an under-strength Geraldton team as 'disappointing' would be quite an understatement. The Slammers believe they can improve significantly, but now is the time to prove it.
Article by Jacob Kagi
Photo by Darren Speedie (Vision Inspired Photography)