Restricted players a concern for Braves and Lady Braves

Restricted players are the chief concerns for the Bendigo Bank Braves and Lady Braves coaches ahead of next season.

Both Braves coach Ben Harvey and new Lady Braves mentor Jonathan Goodman are hoping to announce their first signings this week.

While the Braves’ squad is mostly settled, Goodman faces a potential juggling act with his restricted positions.

“No one (from last season) has said no, so it’s just going through the finer details now,” Goodman said.

Each SEABL team can only have a maximum of three A, B or C restricted players – and no more than two A or B restricted players.

An A restricted player is any non-Australian required to hold a Foreign Players Licence, while B restricted is any player who averages more than 20 minutes per game in the previous WNBL season before the January deadline.

Last season’s Lady Braves joint-MVPs Renae Camino and Mia Newley could be B restricted.

While Camino is presently injured for the Bendigo Bank Spirit, she is set to return soon and Newley is a key player for the Townsville Fire.

If the Spirit’s Kelly Wilson returns to the Lady Braves after a stellar season with Knox, she will be restricted for just six matches until she passes the 100-game milestone for Bendigo.

However, Wilson enjoyed her season at Knox and said she is still weighing up her options.

“I haven’t given it much more thought until I talk with (Goodman) a bit more,” she said.

Goodman has also spoken to Gabe Richards about returning, with the Spirit’s in-form centre certain to be B restricted if she plays SEABL.

Goodman hasn’t ruled out an import next season either, claiming it’s “not off the radar”.

The Spirit’s Madeleine Garrick could be a C restricted player if she averages between 14 and 20 minutes for the WNBL club.

Garrick is slightly below the borderline, while Bendigo junior product Kerryn Harrington is on the threshold for Bulleen.

Both Garrick, from Shepparton, and Harrington fit with the Lady Braves’ stated aim of including more country Victorian-raised players in the squad.

But only one position is likely to be available for a C restricted player.

While Goodman has headaches fitting his squad together, Kristi Harrower’s appointment as an assistant coach is expected to be confirmed.

“Logistically, we need to work out whether or not it fits with Kristi. From all conversations that have taken place she’s pretty keen to work with the group,” Goodman said.

Meanwhile, Harvey has secured his two import positions for next season, but remains unsure about MVP Tom Garlepp’s availability.

Garlepp is averaging just under 20 minutes for the Sydney Kings in the NBL and Harvey is scouting possible replacements in case last season’s star recruit becomes a B restricted player.

The rest of the Braves’ Australian content, which includes the returning Taylor Bell, has verbally agreed to play on, although Adam Tanner is still considering his future.

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