2017 SEASON RECAP
As we near the start of the 2018 season, take a look back at how last year unfolded and the fortunes of all seven teams in the competition.
Returning to the top of the league in 2017, the Wollongong Rollerhawks claimed their first Championship in five years while losing just two games for the season and sweeping the finals series.
Their superior ball movement and unselfish play proved the difference and that was exemplified in the gold medal game when Luke Pople (25 points, seven rebounds, nine assists) Brett Stibners (21, 12 and seven), Nick Taylor (16, five and eight) and Michael Auprince (15, seven and eight) all came close to triple-doubles.
Under 2017 Coach of the Year Brendan Dowler, all four of those players will be back this season as the Rollerhawks mount their Championship defence in 2018.
Following a brilliant second half of the season, the Sydney Metro Blues made a late charge last year to claim the silver medal.
They reached the Grand Final with victories in the Semi-Final and Preliminary Final on the back of an outstanding offensive display from Joe Chambers while CJ McCarthy-Grogan also starred.
The Queensland Spinning Bullets caused arguably the upset of the season in the bronze medal playoff last year, defeating the Kilsyth Cobras on their home floor to finish third.
Trailing at half-time, rising superstar Tom O’Neill-Thorne led the comeback but the likes of Matt McShane, Dylan Gawthorne and Daniel Anstey all played crucial roles and that core group will be back for Queensland as they aim to wreak more havoc in 2018.
Entering last season as the defending Champions and having the benefit of home court advantage through the playoffs, the Cobras will still be burning from a disappointing finals campaign that saw them lose three straight contests to round out the year.
Tristan Knowles and Shaun Groenewegan will lead their resurgence but Damon Fent, Brian Carminati and potentially Dylan Alcott will also be key role players for the club.
Another team not used to disappointment is the Be Active Perth Wheelcats who finished the 2017 campaign in fifth place to miss the playoffs in a rare occurrence for the successful club.
They still have a very capable roster though featuring Shaun Norris, Kim Robins as well as Amber Merritt and they will be just as desperate for redemption as Kilsyth.
The Red Dust Heelers only claimed three victories last year but they will take confidence from their hot start to the season and if they can maintain that form later into the 2018 campaign, they will be threatening for a top four position.
Finally, Adelaide Thunder made their return to the competition in 2017 and their goal will now be to get some wins on the board in 2018.
They have retained the services of stars Adam Roocke and Beau Buckley while Australian Gliders head coach David Gould will once again lead them from the sidelines.
Find the full 2018 fixture here and stay tuned to the NWBL website in the coming days for team previews.