SEASON PREVIEW: BE ACTIVE PERTH WHEELCATS
Last Year: 5 wins, 12 losses- 5th
Roster: Michael Hartnett, Amber Merritt, Shaun Norris, Thomas McHugh, Kim Robins, Andrew Dewberry, Phil Evens, Lavaale Fafeetee, Kayl Jeffery, Sarah Vinci, Frank Pinder, Joel Herbert, Ben Moncrief, Natalie Alexander.
Playing at home across Round 1 could give the Wheelcats a solid platform to launch into season 2018 and they will also be eyeing off Round 5, when they play Red Dust in a sole triple-header, as another opportunity to get back into top four contention. Byes over Round 6 and 7 will give them a lot to think about before their final contests of the regular season in Round 8.
A perennial finals contender, the Wheelcats will be desperate to atone for last season and will be playing with a point to prove in 2018. That makes them a danger for opposition sides and they still have a high-calibre roster that includes four-time Paralympian Shaun Norris who averaged a triple-double last year (27.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 11.4 assists per game). In addition, Kim Robins also averaged over 20 points in 2017 while Amber Merritt is a more than capable scorer as well. Where Perth needs to improve is at the defensive end and a couple of Emerging Rollers like Benjamin Moncrief, Angus Johnston and Frank Pinder could bring the energy needed to match their high-intensity offence.
One To Watch:
Thomas McHugh. Another of the Emerging Rollers who has also competed on the international stage for the Australian Under-23 Spinners, McHugh is a rising star of the league. His size makes him a foreboding presence at both ends of the floor and last year he averaged 7.6 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. If he can raise his shooting percentage, he will become even more of a threat but McHugh is still just a teenager and a developing prospect to watch for the Wheelcats.