WNBL 2016/17 Season
... tips off next Friday.
Not as strong a comp as last season unfortunately, with Bunton, Tomlinson, George, Talbot, Allen, Ebzery, Madgen & Jarry all headed for Europe.
Title odds right now look like this FWIW:
Perth Lynx 3.30
Townsville Fire 3.75
Melbourne Boomers 6.00
Bendigo Spirit 7.00
Sydney Uni Flames 7.00
Dandenong Rangers 8.50
Canberra Capitals 21.00
Adelaide Lightning 36.00
Perth is a legit threat after re-tooling the front court, adding Ruth Hamblin at the 5 to replace Louella Tomlinson, and replacing the very productive Betnijah Laney (who suffered an ACL tear early in the current WNBA season) with Monica Wright. If Monica can stay healthy then it's a potent lineup.
I guess losing Cayla George to Europe is what has cost the reigning back-to-back champs the favouritism? Imports Novosel & Tatham make way for Standish and Natasha Cloud - who I think is one of the players to watch this season. And they also add Kelly Wilson. So in terms of top-tier talent, Townsville are still right up there, and I also think that Claudia Brassard will prove to be an excellent coach. A 3-peat is a definite possibility.
Down at the other end of the ladder, I can't argue that Adelaide will struggle again this season. I expect Canberra to lift though and be better than $21 suggests. Mansfield came of age last season and hopefully for the sake of the Opals she can build on that brilliant form. They're a young team other than Ruef & Tolo in the paint, but one with a lot of potential. If they just had one more outside shooting threat they could really do some damage.
Still waiting to hear whether Abby Bishop will suit up this season, and wondering whether the Liz Cambage staying in Australia for the summer will translate into any participation in the league. The latter especially could be a game-changer for someone like the Boomers.
It does look set up for another Townsville-Perth GF to me right now though. Rangers and Flames to round out the top 4? It looks quite a raffle to me from 3-7.
I wonder how many away games we'll be able to see this season.