Last season was a down season for the Bendigo Spirit.
They finished 5–16 and tied for last place. The 4–7 record at home was respectable. However, the 1–9 away record was a league-worst and truly doomed the team.
Additions Paige Price is a recruit. Keeping with the theme of developing young talent, Price comes over from Melbourne. She is an incredibly talented young lady who will be able to grow with the young core.
Alicia Froling will make her Spirit debut this season after having to shut it down last year with a wrist injury. In a league without imports this year, there will be very few players who can match her combination of size, speed and skill.
Subtractions Shyla Heal is a young gun who makes the move over to Townsville and unfortunately leaves the Spirit with one less extremely talented youngster. Heal has the talent to one day be a top player in this league.
Abigail Wehrung is a talented guard. She has made her way to Adelaide for this season. The do-it-all guard will be sorely missed on a team that could use some veteran guard play.
Kelly Wilson is taking a COVID opt-out year. After so many years of basketball, Wilson needed some time to recuperate. While she will be back next year, her play will be missed and so will her leadership. Wilson is the all-time leader in WNBL games played and a four-time WNBL champion. Every team in the league would miss Wilson.
Summary First the obvious, there are no imports this year and that means each team is down two of its top players. Most teams’ imports are two of the top three or four players on any given team and that is a huge hole for all teams to replace this year.
Bendigo did not add many players in free agency, relying on internal development from local players and their development players of last season. This will pay long-term benefits to the club, however in the short term the inconsistent play of the youngsters is going to make wins hard to come by.
On a brighter note Alicia Froling is making her return after not being able to play last season with a wrist injury. When in top form, few players can match Froling’s talent.
Prediction This is a growing year for Bendigo. The playing time will give the younger players much needed experience and hopefully set them up with a talented nucleus for the next five to ten years. They will finish in eighth place (3–11).