SEASON PREVIEW: RED DUST LADY HEELERS
Last Year: 4 wins, 11 losses- 5th
Roster: Tahlia Hagart, Dianne Cowen, Taishar Ovens, Anika Foley, Jade Richards, Kathleen O-Kelly Kennedy, Clare Nott, Melisa Ferrett, Shelley Chaplin, Lily Poulter.
The first half of the season is busy for Red Dust which means the back half of the campaign is lighter, playing a total of just six games after Round 5 including a bye in Round 6. However, if they do not get off a strong start, it could be too late by the time their fixture evens out.
The first season for many clubs can be an arduous one but Red Dust proved to be a force as they finished just a game outside the top four while owning the equal-third best defence in the competition. That will give them confidence heading into their second year but while they need to maintain that defensive intensity, they must find more avenues to score if they are to make the jump into a finals position. The addition of Australian Glider Shelley Chaplin will help them immensely after she averaged nine points per game last season as well as 7.7 assists. Kathleen O’Kelly-Kennedy paced them with 11.9 points per contest in 2017 but without the likes of Deanna Smith and Georgia Inglis, Clare Nott (5.9 points, 4.1 boards) should get her hands on the ball more often. The Lady Heelers’ depth, which was tested last season, will be their biggest obstacle in 2018.
One To Watch:
Dianne Cowen. One of only six Red Dust players to feature in every game last season, Cowen will now be looking for a larger role in 2018 after reaching double-figures in minutes in 11 out of 15 contests. She averaged 1.3 points per game as well and while her impact is not always felt on the scoreboard, Cowen could find herself as a more integral part of their offensive structures this year.