WNBL | Team Preview series – Bendigo Spirit

THE Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) is getting extremely close to commencing its 2023/24 season, with the opener set to take place on November 1.

Last season, there was plenty of excitement as locals and imports alike fired for each of the eight teams, with a plethora of highlights gathering plenty of attention to one of the fastest growing women’s basketball competitions in the world.

The Townsville Fire won their last 16 games of the season (including finals), and claimed the ultimate prize in a dominant finish to their campaign. They will now become the hunted as seven other sides look to prevent them from going back to back.

There were plenty of player movements over the off-season too, as sides load up with a mixture of homegrown and international talent for the upcoming fixture, changing the landscape of the competition.

With that in mind, Rookie Me Central will be placing each side under the microscope, taking a look how all eight sides are faring in the build up to the season.

Next on the list are the Bendigo Spirit, who will be eager to resume building towards the finals after narrowly missing last season.

Bendigo Spirit

2022/23 record – 11 wins, 10 losses

The Spirit finished in fifth place last season, but will have a different looking side this time around after the loss of some key personnel over the off-season.


Abigail Wehrung, Alex Wilson, Alicia Froling, Casey Samuels, Esra McGoldrick, Kelly Wilson, Kelsey Griffin, Mehryn Kraker, Ruth Davis, Sophia Locandro

There is plenty of intrigue surrounding the Spirit’s lineup this season, after the departure of former Most Valuable Player (MVP) Anneli Maley. After leading the team for a number of years, Maley headed west to join the Perth Lynx, leaving a reasonable hole in the team’s roster.

Someone will need to step up, but head coach Kennedy Kereama has plenty to work with, and will likely change lineups frequently to find what works. The team has the ability to play tall or small depending on who they are facing, and can adapt mid-game to match the opposition lineups, or stretch sides that are playing smaller.

Griffin holds the key to the team’s success, proving a barometer last season. When the forward went down with an injury, it was a huge blow for the Spirit. Once Griffin was ruled out of the lineup, Bendigo ultimately dropped in form and miss the postseason. If firing, it will be a huge factor in the Spirit’s season and finals hopes.

The team should be the beneficiary of Wehrung’s perimeter shooting, with the guard capable of lighting it up from behind the arc. She shot a league-best 52 per cent from three-point land, and will benefit from Wilson’s passing.

The Spirit may take some time to find the lineup that suits, but the return of Griffin and a second season under Kereama means there is still enough there to sneak into the finals.

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