Phoenix look forward to challenge in A-grade return

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser
Magpies' Nardia Humphries takes on Panthers' Nina Smith in last season’s grand final.
Camera IconMagpies' Nardia Humphries takes on Panthers' Nina Smith in last season’s grand final. Credit: Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Phoenix have risen back into the Albany Basketball Association women’s A-grade competition.

After two seasons in the B-grade competition, the experienced Phoenix return to expand the competition back to five teams.

Phoenix last played in the competition in 2015-16 after reaching consecutive grand finals in the previous two seasons, going down to Mystics on both occasions.

Phoenix team manager Jody Ironmonger said the core of the team remained from the previous seasons of playing in the top tier and would be led by experienced coach Grant Smith.

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“We are looking forward to the challenge again of the quicker pace of A-grade,” she said.

“Traditionally, we are not strong offensively, but defensively we are pretty good.

“We probably lack a bit of pace but we make up for that in experience as we are a bit older than the other sides.”

The Panthers produced a thrilling three-point win over the Magpies in last season’s grand final but both teams have plenty of team changes leading into the new season.

Premiers Panthers lose trio Sophie Lynch, Valerie Corbett and dominant centre Nina Smith but add Savannah Hill from Flames, Kasey Warren and former Magpie Tully Lane.

Macy Lane joins Magpies, while Zandalee Arthur is a notable absentee for Flames, who take on Phoenix in round 1.

Raiders take a squad of 14 players into the new season and have the bye in round 1.

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