Sunbury Jets are primed to get out on court in the Big V women’s state championship division.
The Jets are playing in the top division for the first time, and have put together a squad combining returning players and new recruits.
Jets’ coach Kennedy Kereama said they are keen to step onto court for their first game this weekend.
“We’re pretty happy with where we are at,” he said. “There’s a nice balance of retention and recruitment. Retention was important in keeping some key players.
“We kept our core leaders in Monique [Stevens], Chelsea [Burns] and Courtney [Duever], and we looked to bring in a couple of other leaders.
“We’re looking forward to get under way.”
Alex Darby, Kayla Theodore and Genevieve McCorkell, who all played key roles last season, are returning to the Jets. They’re joined by New Zealand foursome Shea Crotty, Jessica Slade, Rebecca Van Kuyk and Josie Stockill, and Ireland’s captain Orla O’Rielly.
Rebecca Marshall has been promoted from the Jets’ youth league side, while Bethany Theodore returns to the Jets before heading to college later in the year.
Sharon Plichta has moved into an assistant coach role, and Kereama hasn’t ruled out her return to the court later in the season.
Kereama said the key for all inclusions is to ensure they play the role needed by the team.
“Orla and Josie bring a bit more experience,” he said.
“Both have played internationally, at college, and represented their countries.
“We’ve brought in players who fit our model and our program, offensively and defensively.
“They’ll all find a role in the team.
“Some will have more of a role than others.”
Kereama said the playing group would again decide the expectations the side would set itself this season.
He said players are realistic that they won’t have a season like they did last year.
The Jets had one of the most dominant seasons in Big V history, going through 2016 undefeated, with an average winning margin of more than 20 points a game, on the way to their first women’s title in the 21 years of the program.
“It’s unrealistic to think we’ll have that season again,” Kereama said. “It’s not a marathon.
“We’ll build and get better at the season goes on. Everyone wants to win championships,” he said.
“The program we want to build and promote is one where there’s opportunities for locals to show potential and earn a spot.”
The Jets start the season on Saturday night against Southern Peninsula, and follow it up at home on Sunday against McKinnon.