September 21, 2017 | WNBL news

Preview the 2017/18 WNBL season for the Deakin Melbourne Boomers as they aim to utilise what looks like a very strong team on paper to return to the playoffs.

Deakin Melbourne Boomers

Last Year:
5-19, finished 7th.

Brittany Smart, Rebecca Ott, Bec Cole, Kasey Burton, Cassidy Gould, Chelsea D’Angelo, Monique Conti, Maddie Garrick.

Ash Grant, Louella Tomlinson, Liz Cambage, Peri Kalka, Jenna O’Hea, Kalani Purcell, Courtney Duever.

A massive season for the Boomers starts off with a huge Round 1. They visit Dandenong on opening night, before hosting Townsville in the first broadcast game on FOX Sports on October 7. They will then host a game every round bar two including two more instalments of the Michele Timms Cup against the Rangers in Round 5 and Round 13 in their last game of the regular season.

There have been some big off-season signings this year but none were bigger than Liz Cambage returning to the WNBL with the Boomers. She was outstanding at the Rio Olympics, scoring a tournament-high 23.5 points per game. If she can put the Opals result behind her and bring that form into this season, Cambage will return the Boomers to the playoffs.

Melbourne are not just focused on Cambage though, with Kalani Purcell joining the side, Jenna O’Hea returning to the league and Louella Tomlinson coming back after a stint in Hungary to surely help the Boomers become the most dominant team on the glass this season. They also have a host of players returning from last season. A healthy Bec Cole will do wonders to their guard rotation alongside Maddie Garrick, Brittany Smart and reigning Rookie of the Year Monique Conti. If those guards can draw defenders away from the rim with their jump shots, it will further help the likes of Cambage and Tomlinson dominate inside while Courtney Duever has been a bonafide scorer in Big V and now gets an opportunity to prove herself at WNBL level.

Season Memberships for the Boomers are now on sale from just $39.

The Opals became very Cambage-focused during their Olympic campaign which ultimately hurt them and the Boomers must not fall into the same traps. Suffering more than their fair share of injuries over the past few years, Melbourne will also be banking on a clean bill of health this season while they will also battle the weight of expectations to perform.

Watch out for…
Cambage will take the headlines but the Boomers will not be able to progress without a strong season from Jenna O’Hea. In and out of the WNBL since 2005 as a member of four teams, O’Hea was an All-Star and a Championship winner the last time she represented the Boomers and could prove to be their lucky charm if she can help return success to the club in 2017/18. O’Hea will be required to do her bit on the scoreboard but her interior passing could be the Boomers’ most important asset as will her experience should the team progress to the post-season.

Predicted Finish:
On paper, Melbourne have the best roster but there is a big leap to converting that to wins on the floor. The team has not reached the playoffs since 2013-14 and you have to go back to 2011-12 for the last time they won a final, which puts pressure on this group to perform. However, they look to have found the balance with a highly impressive front court and some talented guards but a player that can control the tempo and settle the side down when things aren’t going their way could be key to putting the wins on the board.