The Sunbury Jets are readying themselves for a tilt at a third straight Big V women’s state championship title.
With the core group of players from last season’s side returning, the Jets look to be one of the favourites in the new-look competition, with several teams joining the new NBL1.
Jets guard Monique Stevens, Josie Stockill, Courtenay Wragg, Chelsea Burns, Chloe Tidswell and Orla O’Reilly are returning from last season’s championship team.
Stevens said it was key for them to keep their playing group together.
“We still have the foundations of the last couple of years which is really important to us,” she said.
“We are immersing ourselves, learning new offensive and defensive sets and the new terminology Kennedy [Kereama] has learnt from being in the WNBL.”
Stevens only played four games last season because she was pregnant with her first child, but assisted on the sidelines.
She is returning to play this season and has been back on court for about a month “getting back into the run of things”.
Courtney Deuver will be back on court for the Jets after missing last season with a knee injury.
“She’s super keen to be back,” Stevens said of Duever.
“She was training at the back end of last season and super keen to be back on the floor and back in the league.”
Emily Conn, who split playing between the youth league and women’s team, will again move between the two sides.
She will be joined by Chloe Angove, who has been the standout for the youth league side which claimed back-to-back youth league 2 and youth league 1 championships.
In both years Angove was named league most valuable player and grand final most valuable player.
Stevens said Angove had impressed during the pre-season.
“Chloe has been promoted to the side,” she said.
“[She’s] been training week in and week out and proving herself. She’ll be fighting for minutes.”
There are a couple of new faces in the Jets line-up, with American Lynn Leaupepe and New Zealander Jacinta Beckley.
Leaupepe has been training with the side for a couple of months.
“Lynn has been really good,” Stevens said. “She came to tryouts back in November. She had gone to couple of clubs, but decided she wanted to play with us.
“She’s jumped on board and added some depth in the guard position. She’s a high energy player.”
Beckley will join the Jets after she finishes her season with BEAC Ujbuda in Hungary.
The 24-year-old was part of the New Zealand National team in 2015 and 2018.
The Jets, who are going for four straight titles overall, kick off their season on March 16 against Hume City Broncos, when they will unveil their championship banner.