THE Horsham Lady Hornets has had several changes to their list over the off-season with five players moving on and four players joining it.
The Hornets will face the Maryborough Blazers at Maryborough on Saturday.
The Hornets are in the newly formed North West conference for the 2017-18 season.
Maddie Iredell will return to her home club with Rebecca McIntyre, Kara Shuttleworth and Olivia Jones joining the fray.
The core group of Georgia and Ally Hiscock, Ema Iredell, Caitlin Story and Jess Cannane remain with Sharon Fedke hanging up the shoes to be the Hornets’ assistant coach.
“We’ve lost a little bit of height but we have got some really good smaller, running players,” Fedke said.
Fedke said it was going to be brand new this season.
“We don’t really know any of these teams,” she said.
“You look at the results from last year but you don’t really know what you will come up against. For us it’s a whole new competition.”
Player Caitlin Story said the Hornets were thinking that Bendigo Braves would be the team to beat.
“They’ve been undefeated in their conference for years,” she said.
Fedke has done some study on the Braves and said their winning margin was 30-40 points every game.
“They’ve always been strong and this is their feeder, their kids that feed into their South East Australian Basketball League and Women’s National Basketball League teams,” she said.
“This is a chance for them to get game time before they go onto those higher levels.
“Then you look at all the other teams and they are from smaller towns that have really good associations like Swan Hill and Mildura. I really see this as being a tough year for us but at the same time a really good challenge.”
Fedke said it gave her players a chance to play different teams for a change.
Story said the unknown was exciting.
“Not knowing who you are going up against and go out and play,” she said.
Fedke said the Hornets would try to play as free-flowing as possible.
“We just need to go out and play our way, do what we do, how we train,” she said.
Jones used to play basketball in Ballarat while Shuttleworth used to play basketball in Geelong.
Story said pre-season had taken a while to get into due to a lot of the players being involved in netball finals in 2017. “It is looking good with a different bunch of girls. We have some really good guards that have come in which I think will help our team a lot,” she said.
“I think we have gelled really well, pre-season probably hasn’t been as good as we would have wanted but they are a really good bunch of girls and I am looking forward to playing with them.”
Fedke said the teams goal was to play finals basketball.
“No matter what you play you always want to play finals, we’ve been lucky that in the past three out of four years we’ve been in the grand final and won two of those three,” she said.