It might be a slightly different Hume City Broncos side, but the result was the same in the opening round of the Big V women’s state championship division.
After an even first half against Bulleen Boomers, with scores level, the experienced Broncos line-up put their foot down to run away 67-45 winners.
New recruit Sam Guastella top scored with 19 points, while Mua Laloifi and Sophie Byrnes also scored double figures.
Speaking before the season opener, new Broncos coach Glen Milner said the girls had been champing at the bit to return to game mode.
“There’s only so much pre-season stuff you can go with,” he said.
“We had a really good pre-season. We lost to Waverley by eight points without a full team, but we had a really good win against division 1 side Werribee.
“Our last practice match was against Nunawading which is a SEABL [South East Australian Basketball League] side and had a good win.”
Milner missed the game and will miss the next three matches with assistant coach Mick Thomas taking the reign for those games.
The Broncos have kept the core of their championship winning side, but there is a couple of big outs.
Three-time reigning championship division most valuable player Colleen Planeta hasn’t returned as she spends time with family back in America.
Samara Galleher is still battling concussion symptoms, while Yinka Olorunnife won’t return due to work commitments, Jacinta Scott will play with Wallan Panthers and Rebecca Romeo with Whittlesea Pacers.
The Broncos have brought in Guastella, who played with Planeta in Luxembourg.
Jessica Azzopardi, who has come from Geelong is the only other addition, as the side looks at promoting within.
“Sam is shaping up to be a good player,” Milner said. “She can bring an inside presence and is a different player to Colleen. She’s settled in really well.
“Jessica comes across from Geelong and is a dynamic player.
“Nikki Spencer will see more action this time round. Sophie Byrnes had a season on the bench last year and is stepping up at the guard position.
“Ellen Wright, another player from youth league, has played in the practice matches.
“Nat Karantzoulis will see a bit more time too.”
Milner, who has previously coached the championship and youth leagues to titles, said they had made a few adjustments to the game style for this season.
Milner said the side, which had played off in seven of the past nine grand finals, including five championships, is excited to be facing new challenges.