By Rowan Anderson – Photo by Stephen Schulz Photography
The NBL1 North season is upon us and after its debut being delayed due COVID-19 in 2021 we finally get the chance to see the athletic skills of our hardcourt stars once again in a peak state league.
That delay saw the Queensland State League play out with the Logan Thunder women take the championship following an undefeated season.
One of their stars was once again the versatile and competitive forward Mikaela Ruef, who returns for the local outfit with a mission to build on last year’s success.
Following on from two seasons with the Canberra Capitals in the WNBL, along with time with the Thunder, she played in France in the off-season and will join the local squad after completing quarantine in Sydney.
Her motivation for re-joining the squad is clear and simple.
“I really like the club and the area – it feels like home. I love playing with all the girls in the team and we have a lot of fun playing together.
“I’m excited to get the season started. We had a lot of fun winning the QSL last year and we’re looking to build on that and chase an NBL1 title this season.”
The championship team has returned nearly in its entirety and hopes are high that will translate in further success.
“It’s exciting to have our core group returning – we have been able to build a lot of chemistry on the floor. The young girls in our squad have improved from last year, so it will be great to see how they grow and contribute for our group in games this year.”
Head coach Brayden Heslehurst knew the importance of getting Ruef back as a key piece of this team’s formula for success.
“It was incredibly important we brought back Ruef as she has been the most dominant player in the league over the past two years averaging 20 and 20 in both seasons.
“More importantly she is an integral part of what we do – we need someone to control the boards because we want to play at pace, we want someone who can make decisions on the perimeter with the ball while also providing us with a massive presence in the post that we otherwise don’t have so we wouldn’t be able to play the style we do without her.”
He also said that the team is preparing well and even with a disrupted preseason that they will be ready to go for round one and to get their season underway.
The first round for the season saw them tip off against the Red City Roar on Saturday 15th May at Bendigo Bank Arena at Cornubia with the faithful loud and proud.