By JARROD POTTER
“EXCITING” basketball is set to dominate the WNBL court at Dandenong this season.
Unveiled at the season launch on Wednesday night, held at major sponsor Jayco’s Dandenong headquarters, the entire squad is ready for the 2015/16 WNBL season, starting this weekend.
Dandenong coach Larissa Anderson, who will make her WNBL coaching debut this weekend against UC Capitals, said that while the pre-season results – three emphatic wins and a draw – were promising, it was the side’s chemistry that impressed her most.
“You don’t read too much into pre-season games because everyone is unprepared and it’s been a very rushed pre-season,” Anderson said.
“For me, it’s the process that we’ve gone through and there are good signs every week and every session we’re improving and every game we’re improving.
“They’re a very, very exciting group, they’re very close, the chemistry is fantastic – anything can happen when a group just generally enjoys being together and works so hard.
“The word exciting has been used a lot tonight (Wednesday), but that does describe it well – the coaches, players and the club are very excited for the season to come.”
The club also announced its 2015/16 co-captains – a pair of extremely familiar faces around Dandenong Basketball Stadium.
Reaching the peak of their Dandenong basketball journeys – started as juniors rising through the VJBL ranks – were co-captains Aimie Clydesdale and Steph Cumming, both from Endeavour Hills, who unanimously voted in by the playing group.
“That was unanimous and for me I looked at it and thought it was really special – the fact that both of them have grown up at the stadium pretty much, literally grown up at the stadium before domestic and under-12s,” Dandenong coach Larissa Anderson said.
“Whenever they started – at the age of seven or eight – they’ve grown up in this stadium and never played for anyone else in their junior careers and I think that’s wonderful and they’ll do a fantastic job.”
Alison Downie was officially announced as the final member of the squad, with the three-time WNBL championship player making her return to the green-and-gold after a one-year hiatus.
Dandenong will fly up to Canberra this weekend to battle the University of Canberra Capitals – featuring Australian basketball doyenne Lauren Jackson and champion tall Abby Bishop. Tip off is 7pm on Saturday.
The first Dandenong home game is the following Friday night against WNBL newcomers South East Queensland.
“Get behind the Rangers – they’re an exciting group,” Anderson said. “They’re will obviously be some tough times and some challenges like every team faces, but one thing all the fans can guarantee is that they’ll give 100 per cent every single week and we’d love the support.”
DANDENONG JAYCO RANGERS 2015/16 SQUAD
Larissa Anderson (coach), #5 – Aimie Clydesdale, #8 – Stephanie Cumming (co-captains), #1 – Tegan Cunningham, #4 – Annalise Pickrel, #9 – Jacinta Kennedy, #10 – Chloe Bibby, #11 – Lauren Scherf, #12 – Alison Downie, #13 – Alex Bunton, #14 – Amelia Todhunter, #15 – Sara Blicavs, #35 – Tenaya Phillips, Bree Whatman, Amanda Meinking, Georgia Pineau, Najvada George, Monique Andriulo, Brittany Wunhym (development players).