Tess Madgen ponders leaving the Spirit

The Bendigo Bank Spirit has a fight on its hands to keep its Most Valuable Player from the past two seasons – Tess Madgen.

The 21-year-old has attracted interest from several WNBL clubs since the league’s free agents list was released this week.

Madgen said the Spirit had made her a “pretty good” offer for next season, but she was yet to make a final decision.

It is believed this season’s runner-up, Bulleen, is one of the club’s Madgen has spoken to as she has strong links to Boomers players Kerryn Harrington, Liz Cambage and Rachel Jarry from her time with them at the Australian Institute of Sport.

“I’m talking to a couple of clubs, but nothing’s definite yet. I’m just weighing up all my options,” Madgen said.

“Bendigo is definitely in there. I’m trying to make the best decision for myself, that’s been stressful. Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks I will have made that decision and be happy.”

Madgen has become one of the Spirit’s star players since relocating to Bendigo from the AIS two seasons ago.

Her main aims are to regain her spot in the Australian Opals squad and be in a successful WNBL team.

“My main goal is getting back into the Opals squad next year and having a really good WNBL season, wherever that may be,” Madgen said.

“(I want) to put myself in the best position to get back in that squad because every little girl’s dream is to play in the Olympics.

“Bendigo definitely has a winning type of culture – especially in the past couple of years – which is why (this) season was so disappointing, because we had such a good team but we were unable to deliver.”

Newly re-appointed Spirit coach Bernie Harrower said keeping Madgen was a priority for the club.

“There’s no doubt about that. She’s probably on most people’s shopping list. She is very unlucky to miss out on the Opals squad this year and she’s been able to do that by playing with us,” Harrower said.

“For her to play in Bendigo she’s not playing behind anyone else, she’s the superstar of our team. If she goes to Bulleen there’s certainly people ahead of her there, and she then has to take a step backwards.

“You do what you can to keep your players and if they’re not happy playing with you and want to move on, well there’s not much you can do about that.

“She’s certainly a required player for us and someone we desperately want to keep.”