BENDIGO Lady Braves will break with tradition and will enter the 2018 SEABL season without any imports on their roster.
With the new season not due to tip-off until April 6, the Lady Braves have signed nine players.
The list includes six players who were on the Bendigo Spirit’s WNBL roster in 2017-18, headed by centre Gabe Richards, team MVP Nadeen Payne and Ash Karaitiana.
A still to be finalised roster features four members of the Lady Braves team, which lost the national championship grand final against Geelong Supercats, in Kelly Wilson, Bianca Dufelmeier, Maddi Wild and Madeline Sexton.
New Lady Braves coach Megan Moody said she would look to add at least two more players to the mix, but none would be imports.
“I think we have the quality that we need with the players we have recruited,” she said.
“I think the players we have recruited are of import standard.
“We’ll definitely bring in one or two more players – what position they will be I’m not sure, we are probably after someone who is versatile, who can play a bit of outside and inside.
“But what we have put together already is exciting.”
The Lady Braves finished the 2017 season with two imports, second-year player Chante Black and Ashley Rininger.
In contrast, the Braves men, under 2016 national championship coach Ben Harvey, will enter the season with two imports.
They are Jeremy Kendle, who was the league MVP in his previous season in Bendigo in 2016, and 206cm power forward Ray Turner, who has played professionally in Australia, Cypus, Japan and Hungary.
Buoyed by this week’s signing of two-time WNBL All-Star Richards and three-time WNBL championship guard Wilson, Moody was naturally rapt with how the side was taking shape.
“They will definitely be our leaders on the court and off the court as well,” she said.
“Gabe and Kelly are quality people on and off (the court) and I really respect them as people.
“But I know the rest of our group, particularly the younger players, really look up to them, not only for what they have achieved on the floor in their basketball careers, but what they bring to programs.”
The Lady Braves start their season against SEABL newcomers Diamond Valley.