Mandurah Magic 2019: Women 'buzzing' ahead of season-opening grand final rematch

The Mandurah Magic will be eager to extract revenge on the Lakeside Lightning when the two Women's State Basketball League heavyweights go head-to-head in their season openers this Friday night.

Lakeside handed Mandurah a gut-wrenching loss in last year's grand final, making the Magic all the more eager to get their season started with a victory.

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It's somewhat of a baptism by fire for new Mandurah coach Craig Watts, who will make his debut at the head of the team in round one, with the new-look Lakeside boasting plenty of height while his own side will be without star centre Regina Palusna.

The Magic clash with Lakeside on Friday night. Photo: Justin Rake.

The Magic clash with Lakeside on Friday night. Photo: Justin Rake.

The two sides have built one of the leagues most storied rivalries in recent years, with Watts tipping the game to be a tough encounter between two playoff contenders.

"We expect nothing less than a really hard-fought game," he said.

"They're the reigning premiers for a reason, but we're excited for the new year and we're buzzing to get on the court.

"It'd be huge for us to come away with a win over the defending champs in the opening game."

The Magic head into the season hoping to go one step further than the previous two years, which both produced grand final losses.

Adding three-point threat and American import Delany Junkermier will help the team as they look to stretch the floor, while Palusna returns for a second season in Mandurah.

Star centre Carly Boag will continue to make her way back from a devastating leg injury, while senior players Rachel Halleen, Casey Mihovilovich, Bree Klasztorny, Emma Klasztorny and Kelly Bailey will lead from the front.

Kasey Miegel makes her return to the side following a year overseas, while Rachel Pettit, Jemma Gatti and Ashlee Norman help create strong depth.

"I think depth is going to be a highlight of our team," Watts said.

"If we have to bring one of our starters off we're very confident everyone on the bench can get the job done.

"We're going to be a pretty athletic team and we've been a tough team in the past, so that combination should hopefully have us in good stead."

Mandurah's game with the Lightning tips off at the Lakeside Recreation Centre at 6.30pm, Friday night, before they return to the Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre for their home opener against Kalamunda at 6pm, Saturday.