THE Horsham Hornets will be seeking back-to-back Country Basketball League titles this season, but will do so back in the South West conference after moving from North West.
The Hornets most recently played in the South West conference in the 2016-17 season before switching to North West last season.
Coach Cam Bruce said ahead of the opening game of the season against Portland at home, he wasn’t sure what to expect.
“Being out of the South West for the year you get a bit lost and until we play everyone once we won’t have a firm idea of where we fit,” he said.
“At this stage, we are looking at a clean slate and we will respect whoever we play against.”
The Hornets have had some close games in the past against Portland.
“We have played Portland plenty of times and they are generally a fairly physical team,” he said.
“We have had some close games with them in the past. I think it will be a tough game but it will be a good one to get out of the way first, especially with us playing at home.”
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From last season’s championship-winning side, James Hallett will be missing.
“James is moving to the Northern Territory and he will be a big loss, but we have had some ripper few weeks at training and have been getting some new faces to training,” Bruce said.
“We have gained Ben Lakin, Jordy Burke and James Hedlam this season.
“Jordy has played a lot for the Hornets in the past and is an excellent leader. Ben played for the Hornets when he was about 16 and is a bit more mature now and has a bigger body, and James has played at a high level in Geelong. He is another tall who will add another dimension to the team.”
The Hornets will also have a deep list when it comes to youth to choose from this season.
While young gun Ben Hobbs has moved to Ballarat, Austin McKenzie and Sam Breuer will be looking for increased minutes this season.
Jeremiah McKenzie will also be around the side this season and has been training at a high level in Ballarat.
“I’m looking for Austin and Sam to step up and have more prominent roles in the team,” Bruce said.
“We also have Harley Pope and Kody Bryan who have been training really well, and could also play a role this season.
“Jeremiah is training with the Ballarat Miners and he is one to watch this year for sure. He has grown another inch or two and will come back a very good player.”
The Hornets take on Portland at 8pm at the Horsham Basketball Stadium with the Lady Hornets in action against Portland from 6pm.