Fresh courts, fresh faces and a fresh outlook are three things the Mandurah Magic will take into the 2017 State Basketball League season with them.
The club launched its 2017 campaign with a jersey presentation and open training session on their brand new courts on Tuesday night, with each side unveiling a number of new players in their line-up.
The women’s side, set to be led by co-captains Emma Klasztorny and Rachel Halleen, will have the chance to test themselves early when they take on reigning champs Willetton on the road in round one.
It’s a tall order, but Mandurah coach Randy Miegel said his side was excited to take on one of the premier teams in the competition.
“To be able to test yourself against what could be the best side in their own stadium early on is quite exciting, to be honest,” he said.
“Judging from training last night I think we looked pretty sharp and are ready to go, and you know Willeton are going to be competitive no matter who they put on the court, so it’s going to be an interesting game.”
Veteran players like Klasztorny, Halleen and Casey Mihovilovich will be joined by American import Nici Gilday and Women’s National Basketball League restricted player Carly Boag on the Mandurah roster.
Miegel said his side’s mix of experience and youth gave them a platform to launch a strong finals run in 2017.
“I think we’ve got a good balance. Our more experienced veterans are helping some of our really good young kids come through,” he said.
The Magic’s men’s side will also lean heavily on its youth this season, as the club hopes to develop its contingent of fresh-faced locals.
The side will be led by veterans like captain Taylor Mullenax, import Rick Kreklow and newcomer from Rockingham Andrew Bowman, but there’s a big focus on getting minutes into youngsters.
Fletcher Klasztorny has rejoined the Magic while Chad Simpson, who showed promise in limited time last year, can expect a bigger role in the side.
Addressing the crowd at the season launch, new coach Aaron Trahair said he liked the look of his new outfit.
“We’ve got a young side and with youth might come a couple of inconsistencies, but we’re really looking forward to getting the season started,” he said.
Much like the women, the men face a daunting task first up against a Willetton side that finished third in 2016.
The sides will get to test their new courts at the Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre for the first time round four in a clash against Kalamunda.