Game of The Week – Diamond Valley Eagles vs. Bendigo Braves
Friday 6th April- 6:00pm @ Diamond Valley Recreation Centre
A baptism of fire of sorts for Diamond Valley greets them in their first game of their venture into SEABL as they host last year’s Runners-Up in Bendigo.
The Eagles have made the move from Big V but have not been shy in their recruiting, grabbing four players from the UC Capitals team as well as reigning WNBL Rookie of the Year Ezi Magbegor as they look to make a serious run at the Championship in their debut season.
However, Magbegor will be making her debut for the Opals at the Commonwealth Games this weekend which will delay her arrival at Diamond Valley while Chevannah Paalvast will also be absent as she is representing New Zealand.
Bendigo are going to be out for revenge this year after falling in the 2017 Grand Final and they have their fair share of WNBL talent as well through 2017/18 Champion Kelly Wilson, Gabe Richards and Nadeen Payne.
They join a young but determined group of returning players including Bianca Dufelmeier as well as Maddison Wild and Ahlise Hurst who spent time as development players with the Spirit last season.
That should set up a high-scoring contest on Friday night with Diamond Valley’s main concern keeping the Braves out of the paint and if Lauren Scherf cannot get up for the game, the likes of Richards and Payne could feast under the rim.
The hosts will look to run Bendigo off their feet though with Maddison Rocci and Abbey Wehrung two players that will spark their offence throughout this season.
Round 1 Notables:
- Diamond Valley’s depth will be tested in Round 1 as they face a back-to-back when they visit Sandringham on Saturday night following their clash with Bendigo.
- Five teams have double-headers in the opening weekend though including Dandenong, Kilsyth, the CoE and Nunawading.
- Eric Hayes will make his debut as head coach of the Ballarat Rush when they meet the Rangers on Friday night.
- Kilsyth are many people’s Championship favourites but they will be up against it in Round 1 as they head out on the road against Hobart and Launceston. They will also be missing Jasmine Gill and Steph Blicavs’ return to the club will have to wait until the end of the Commonwealth Games.
- For the first time since they were known as the AIS, the Centre of Excellence women are eligible for finals in 2018 and they begin their campaign on the road to Nunawading on Saturday night and Dandenong on Sunday afternoon.
- Sydney Uni are back for their second year and get the immediate chance for redemption when they visit Geelong, the place where their season ended last year in the East Conference Preliminary Final.
- The Supercats will be unveiling their Championship banner at that game and as such, tip off is scheduled for 7pm with the men scheduled as the curtain-raiser.
Find the full fixture for the women in Round 1 via the SEABL website here.