ONE of the cornerstone players of the Bendigo Spirit's back-to-back championships is returning to the club for the upcoming WNBL season.
The Bendigo Spirit has announced the return of Kelsey Griffin on a three-year deal in a massive kickstart to its ambitions to return to the WNBL finals after a seven-season absence.
Griffin previously spent six seasons with the Spirit from 2012-13 to 2017-18 and was instrumental during a period when the club became a WNBL force.
The Spirit won consecutive WNBL titles in Griffin's first two seasons at the club - she won the grand final MVP both years - and finished runner-up in her third season.
Overall, Griffin played 121 games in her first stint with the Spirit and is ranked No.3 for points (1915), No.2 for rebounds (1071), No.5 for assists (229), No.2 for blocks (117) and No.1 for steals (180).
Since departing the Spirit for Canberra 34-year-old Griffin has added two more WNBL titles with the Capitals in 2019 and 2020 and was also the WNBL MVP in 2019.
"It was a difficult decision to leave Canberra, but the Spirit will always have a place in my heart and the opportunity to come back at the back end of my career and finish where I started in Australia was very exciting," Griffin said on Friday.
"I'm excited to come back to Bendigo and play for a club and community that many people have put their heart and soul into and put their faith in me early in my career. Especially Sue DeAraugo (passed away in April), who was an important part of my life and a big reason for my return to the Spirit."
I'm excited to come back to Bendigo and play for a club and community that many people have put their heart and soul into- Kelsey Griffin
Having previously been coached by Bernie Harrower and Simon Pritchard at the Spirit, this time Griffin will be guided by the newly-appointed Kennedy Kereama.
"Everywhere Kelsey has gone success has followed her. Her first stint in Bendigo is evident of that," Kereama said.
"Kelsey's level of consistency to perform at the highest level is unmatched, you just have to look at the stat sheet to see that. However, aside from the incredible talent we're getting on the floor, we're also getting a consummate professional off it."
The 2022-23 WNBL season tips off in early November.
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