The Jayco Rangers attempt to win the club’s fourth WNBL championship in the 2016/17 Grand Final against the Sydney Uni Flames

On March 5 the Jayco Rangers defeated the Perth Lynx by 18 points in game 3 of their semi-final series to progress to the 2016/17 WNBL Grand Final against Sydney. This is the first season that the WNBL has had a best of three semi final series, whilst a best of three Grand Final series was introduced for the 2015/16 season. Townsville defeated Perth 2-0 to win the 2015/16 WNBL Championship whilst the Brydens Sydney Uni Flames won the 2016/17 semi final 1 series against Townsville 2-0. In the first ever WNBL game 3 of the semi final 2 series at Dandenong Basketball Stadium on Sunday afternoon the Dandenong Rangers started in brilliant fashion to lead Perth by 14 points at quarter time of the deciding game of their semi final 2 series. The Jayco Rangers extended the lead to 20 points with three minutes and 42 seconds left in the second term however Perth hit back strongly to reduce the margin to six points at three quarter time. Perth and Dandenong went basket for basket during the final term until tenacious Dandenong guard Amelia Todhunter made a three-pointer with five minutes 25 seconds remaining to increase the Rangers lead to nine points. The Jayco Rangers dominated the remainder of the game 14-5 to win 81 points to 63. When the stakes were at their highest the Dandenong defence was exceptional, restricting Perth to just nine points in the final quarter.

On 14 January 2017 the Jayco Dandenong Rangers celebrated their 25th Anniversary of joining the WNBL by having a function featuring several guest speakers including the Rangers greatest ever player Penny Taylor, and honouring the club’s 25 greatest WNBL players. The Rangers made the WNBL grand final in their 1992 debut season, however only made the finals twice more in their next eight seasons up to and including 1999/2000. Jayco commenced as the naming sponsor of the Dandenong Rangers in 2000/01 and it is no coincidence that whilst this partnership has been in existence for the past 17 seasons the Rangers have been able to evolve into one of the benchmark teams in the WNBL. During 17 seasons from 2000/01 the Rangers have made the finals 14 times, a phenomenal strike rate of 82.4%. The Rangers made three consecutive Grand Finals from 2003/04 to 2005/06, winning the championship in the first two Grand Finals during this sequence both against the Sydney Uni Flames at Dandenong Basketball Stadium, 63-53 in 2003/04 and 52-47 in 2004/05, before being defeated by Canberra 68 points to 55 in the 2005/06 Grand Final. Current Ranger Jacinta Kennedy (then Hamilton) won three consecutive Dandenong MVP awards from 2003/04 to 2005/06, was named in the WNBL All Star five twice during those three seasons and was also awarded the 2004/05 Grand Final MVP for a 23 point, 12 rebound performance in a low scoring game.

In both 2003/04 and 2004/05 the Dandenong Rangers won the minor premiership, Grand Final opponent Sydney finished second in 2003/04 four games behind Dandenong and third in 2004/05 three games behind Dandenong. One Ranger – Kennedy was selected in the 2003/04 WNBL All-Star five whilst two Sydney players, Shelly Hammonds and current Sydney Flames starter Belinda Snell earned selection. Two Sydney players made the WNBL All-Star again in 2004/05, Snell and current Dandenong Basketball Elite Teams Administration Manager Trish Fallon, whilst no Rangers made the team. In both 2003/04 and 2004/05 two Sydney Flames ranked in the top four of the WNBL for points per game being Snell (2nd in 03/04 and 1st in 2004/05), Hammonds (3rd in 03/04) and Fallon fourth in (04/05), whilst the Dandenong Rangers didn’t have a player ranked in the top four in either season, Kennedy had the highest ranking of a Ranger during this two season period – fifth in 2003/04. The Rangers relied on a more even spread of scoring and the catalyst for their back to back WNBL championships was outstanding team defence led by Emily McInerney who won the WNBL Robyn Maher Defensive Player of the Year award a record breaking nine times. Highlighting the depth of the Rangers back to back championship teams of 2003/04 and 2004/05, eight players that played in at least one of these teams were named in the Rangers 25 greatest players of all time in January this year, Kennedy, McInerney, Carly Wilson, Alison Downie, Caitlin Ryan, Allie Douglas, Jessica Bibby and Sam Richards.

The Jayco Rangers lost a semi final in 2006/07 and a qualifying final in 2007/08, and then slid further down the ladder to miss the finals in both 2008/09 with seven wins and 2009/10 with six wins. For the 2010/11 season Mark Wright was appointed as Rangers head coach for the second time, having previously performed the role from 1998/99 to 2001/02. During Wright’s five season second stint as head coach from 2010/11 to 2014/15 the Dandenong Rangers made the finals in all five seasons however during finals it was either feast or famine, winning a final in only one of these campaigns 2011/12 when they won all three finals to win the club’s third WNBL championship, defeating minor premiers the Bulleen (now Melbourne) Boomers 94 points to 70 at the State Netball and Hockey Centre (also known as the Cage). Two thirds of the way through the 2011/12 season the Rangers looked to a be middle of the road team personified with a record of eight wins and eight losses, however from that point on they were an unstoppable force winning nine consecutive games.

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Two members of the Rangers 2011/12 WNBL championship winning team will be playing for the Rangers in the 2016/17 Grand Final against Sydney – guards Steph Cumming and Aimie Clydesdale, however both will have far greater responsibility in the 2016/17 edition. In 2011/12 Clydesdale was an 18 year old development player and the 12th player on the Rangers roster, today she is the Rangers starting point guard with over 100 games WNBL experience. Cumming was the starting shooting guard for the Rangers in 2011/12, ranking third at the club for points, assists and minutes behind Kathleen MacLeod and Jenna O’Hea who each ranked in the top four of the WNBL for assists and top eight in the league for scoring. MacLeod, O’Hea and Cumming were all named in the Rangers 25 greatest players of all-time along with one other member of the 2011/12 championship winning team, forward Alison Downie who has the distinction of being the only member of all three Rangers WNBL championship winning teams. In her last WNBL game the retiring Jacinta Kennedy can equal join Downie as a three time WNBL champion with Dandenong. During her third stint at the Jayco Rangers commencing in 2015/16 Cumming has elevated her game to a new stratosphere to finish in the top 10 of the WNBL MVP award in both seasons, won the WNBL Robyn Maher Defensive Player of the Year award in 2015/16 and has led Dandenong in both seasons for points, assists and minutes played.

Jayco Rangers appoint Larissa Anderson as head coach for the 2015/16 season and continue finals streak

In March 2015 Larissa Anderson became the sixth person and first women to be appointed the coach of the Jayco Rangers WNBL team, replacing Mark Wright who coached Dandenong for a total of nine seasons in two stints. Anderson, a WNBL life-member played 275 WNBL games between 1995 and 2008, starting and finishing her career with the Dandenong Rangers but spending most of her WNBL career playing for the Bulleen Boomers. From the age of 14 coaching is what Anderson did as her part-time job, whether it be individual sessions with kids, coaching at camps or later on running her own camps and building her own role model program that she took out to schools. The appointment of Anderson as Dandenong’s head coach was exactly 20 years after she played her first WNBL game for the club. Anderson had extensive coaching experience in the SEABL, including winning the Coach of the Year Award early in her coaching career in 2004. In the SEABL Anderson was the head coach of a Dandenong Rangers team that won three consecutive SEABL Championships from 2010 to 2012, becoming the first team in league history to achieve this feat.

Only one of Dandenong’s starters from the 2014/15 season returned in 2015/16 – American import Annalise Pickrel, however Anderson achieved her aim of recruiting players that had represented the Rangers in the WNBL previously, recruiting five former Rangers players in Cumming, Kennedy,  Todhunter, Downie and Sara Blicavs. Excluding development players the only player Dandenong recruited for the 2015/16 season that hadn’t played WNBL basketball for the club previously was centre Alex Bunton. Core players that returned from 2014/15 in addition to Pickrel were 2014/15 WNBL Rookie of the Year Lauren Scherf, Aimie Clydesdale and Tegan Cunningham, resulting in four of the eight players that formed Dandenong’s core rotation in 2014/15 returning in 2015/16.

Whilst it is obviously a significant step up in standard from the SEABL to WNBL Anderson’s experience of coaching at SEABL level and the familiarity she had with the Rangers 2015/16 WNBL roster, having coached many of them in the SEABL previously proved invaluable. Speaking to Roy Ward from Fairfax Media in December 2015 Todhunter commented “With the bond I’ve built with (coach) Larissa Anderson over the years, I know she has all the confidence in the world in me and that’s something I’ve missed out on over the years with different coaches.”1

Anderson had coached six members of Dandenong’s 2015/16 WNBL roster in the SEABL during 2015  and had also coached Cumming and Scherf in the SEABL during previous seasons. The Dandenong Rangers won the 2015 SEABL championship, the club’s fourth title in six seasons.  Although Dandenong had made the WNBL finals in all five seasons from 2010/11 to 2014/15 the external expectations on the eve of the season were considerably lower with very few experts tipping the Dandenong Rangers to make the finals in 2015/16. Some people labelled the Dandenong Rangers 2015/16 WNBL team a “Great SEABL team” and these people didn’t think the Rangers had enough class to make the finals in Australia’s premier women’s basketball league – the WNBL.

At the Jayco Rangers 2015/16 season launch Larsissa Anderson commented on the Rangers team “They’re a very, very exciting group, they’re very close, the chemistry is fantastic – anything can happen when a group just generally enjoys being together and works so hard. The word exciting has been used a lot tonight, but that does describe it well – the coaches, players and the club are very excited for the season to come.”2

Two guards, Cumming and Clydesdale who both grew up in Endeavour Hills were voted into the role of co-captain by their team-mates, Dandenong head-coach Anderson commented “That was unanimous and for me I looked at it and thought it was really special – the fact that both of them have grown up at the stadium pretty much, literally grown up at the stadium before domestic and under-12s. Whenever they started – at the age of seven or eight – they’ve grown up in this stadium and never played for anyone else in their junior careers and I think that’s wonderful and they’ll do a fantastic job.”3

On Anderson’s appointment as WNBL head coach of the Jayco Rangers Cumming commented “I’m really excited for Larissa, she’s been hanging in there waiting for her chance and now she’s got it I know she’s going to take it. Half the girls who have been recruited had been involved in the SEABL program. Larissa said she really wanted to get back Dandenong girls, girls who have played here or come through the juniors. Aimee Clydesdale gets her chance and Tegan Cunningham and Sara Blicavs are back. All us Dandenong girls from the SEABL teams are so close. We all went out for dinner for Amelia Todhunter’s birthday a few weeks ago and still have big catch ups.’’4 In her debut season as a WNBL coach Anderson won the league’s coach of the month award in December 2015 and January 2016, in each month the Rangers had a record of five wins and one loss.

In an article for Coaching Life late in the 2015/16 WNBL season Anderson wrote “I have absolutely loved my first year as a WNBL coach. We have a wonderful group of girls, staff and club, and everyone has really come together well. We can be very exciting to watch when we get it going and have also shown at times we are a young and new group. It has been a funny season with a lot of results going back and forth for teams, it has been one of the more even seasons I have ever been involved with. Right up until the last round, 6 teams have been battling for the final 4 and final places will not be known until after the last round this weekend, which is pretty exciting. At times I get frustrated because we may have dropped a couple of games we probably shouldn’t have, but then if anyone was to tell me at the start of the season that not only would we be playing finals but had the chance to finish top two in our first season together, you would take it every time!”5

The Dandenong Rangers finished third on the WNBL ladder with a record of 15 wins and nine losses, two wins behind minor premiers, Townsville Fire and one win behind the second placed Perth Lynx. The fourth placed SEQ Stars also finished with 15 wins and nine losses but lost the tie-breaker due to Dandenong having the better head to head record, winning two of the three games between the clubs during the regular season.

A key reason in Dandenong making the WNBL finals was their remarkable record in close games, of their 14 games decided by eight points or less during the 2015/16 regular season they won 12 and lost only two. Dandenong’s depth was extremely important throughout the 2015/16 season given that due to injury they frequently had one or more of their core players missing. The Dandenong Rangers had the equal-best home record in the WNBL during the regular season with the Perth Lynx, having a record of nine wins and three losses. With their entertaining brand of basketball and their superb record of winning close games at home the Rangers provided tremendous value for money for their members in 2015/16. Dandenong had six wins and six losses on the road, the equal fourth best record in the WNBL, three games behind the best road team, the eventual 2015/16 WNBL Champions the Townsville Fire.

Dandenong hosted SEQ in the minor semi final and held the ascendancy for most of the game, leading by 15 points late in the second quarter, however SEQ overran Dandenong to win by four points. Athletic forward Blicavs was phenomenal in the semi final playing one of the all-time great WNBL finals games, scoring 38 points on 14 of 26 field goals, taking a team-high nine rebounds and made an equal team-high four assists. The Jayco Dandenong Rangers broke a club record in making the WNBL finals for a sixth consecutive season in 2015/16, however in the last four of these seasons the club failed to win a final.

Jayco Rangers retain most of their roster for the 2016/17 WNBL season and advance to the Grand Final

Speaking about playing a second WNBL season under Anderson at Dandenong in 2016/17 Cumming commented “We had a great first year under Larissa Anderson and with a new team, I don’t think people expected us to do so well. Now those foundations are laid we’ll be more of a threat but we also know won’t be able to go under the radar.”6

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Six of the seven Dandenong players that played at least 300 minutes court-time in 2015/16 returned for the 2016/17 season with the exception being import Annalise Pickrel who played in Russia. None of the four Rangers that played between 50 and 295 minutes in 2015/16 returned to the club this season with Tenaya Phillips and Tegan Cunningham joining rival WNBL clubs Perth Lynx and Melbourne Boomers respectively. Alex Bunton played in Russia, whilst Jayco Rangers veteran Alison Downie is playing as a ruckman for Carlton in the inaugural season of the AFL Women’s league.

Dandenong recruited three new players for the 2016/17 season, American imports Natalie Novosel and Ally Malott and Victorian Rosie Fadljevic. Two members of the trio had played for the Jayco Rangers in the WNBL previously with shooting guard Novosel playing all 26 games for Dandenong in the WNBL during the 2013/14 season, whilst forward Fadljevic was a development player at Dandenong in 2012/13. Both players have played in WNBL championships with the Townsville Fire with Fadljevic playing in the 2014/15 title alongside current Rangers teammate Cumming, whilst Novosel played in the 2015/16 championship and was one of the best three point shooters in the league during that season, making 34 of her 70 attempts for a phenomenal accuracy of 49%.

In the entire 2015/16 season the Rangers only had two wins of at least 20 points being 32 points against Bendigo in Round 3 and 20 points against Sydney in Round 8. In the first four games of the 2016/17 WNBL season the Rangers had already beaten both of the 2015/16 Grand Finalists by at least 20 points, defeating Perth by 20 points in Round 1 and Townsville by 27 points in Round 2.

The Jayco Rangers lost three of their first seven games of the 2016 /17 season, losing to Bendigo twice, once at home and once on the road. The third loss was at Dandenong Basketball Stadium to Canberra by 13 points 70-83 in a Round 5 Sunday afternoon game. In another home game less than a week later Dandenong played Canberra at Traralgon Sports Stadium in a Saturday night Round 6 game and recorded a comprehensive 19 point victory 82-63.

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At the time of the Christmas break Dandenong were on top of the WNBL ladder with a record of 11 wins and four losses, however in their first game of 2017 on 8 January the Rangers were defeated by the bottom of the ladder Adelaide Lightning 73-80.

Highlighting the depth of the Dandenong Rangers roster the most important minute played by a Ranger in 2016/17 was from a player that has rarely started, import guard Natalie Novosel. In the Round 14 game against the Melbourne Boomers on January 14 Dandenong trailed by five points with less than a minute to play, however five points from Novosel, firstly with a three pointer and then with a lay-up sent the game into overtime tied at 56 points apiece. The Rangers dominated in overtime to win by 12 points, 73-61 on the day the Rangers celebrated their 25th Anniversary of joining the WNBL.

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Before the Round 19 game against Perth the Dandenong Rangers were on a four game losing streak with all losses being to fellow 2016/17 finalists, Perth, Sydney and Townsville twice. In the Jayco Rangers final regular season game of the season on Saturday night February 18 they recorded a comprehensive 22 point victory over fellow finalist Perth Lynx 81-59.

Dandenong’s brilliant pre-Christmas form together with some favourable results in non-Rangers matches late in the season resulted in the Rangers finishing second on the ladder, earning them home-court advantage for the best of three semi final series against Perth. The Jayco Rangers and Perth Lynx both finished the regular season with a record of 15 wins and nine losses, however the Rangers won the tie-break due to winning the season series between the two clubs 3-1. The Sydney Uni Flames won the minor premiership three games ahead of their nearest rivals, recording 18 wins and six losses. The Townsville Fire who have won the last two WNBL Championships in 2014/15 and 2015/16 complete the top four with a record of 14 wins and 10 losses, whilst Bendigo and Canberra both missed out on a finals position, each recording 13 wins and 11 losses.

The Jayco Rangers have beaten every side in the WNBL at least once in 2016/17, however they have also lost to each side in the WNBL except cross-town rivals the Melbourne Boomers, given that the Rangers won a game against the Boomers by two points and also recorded an overtime win that series could easily have been split two games apiece. In three games during 2016/17 the Rangers have won after trailing by more than 12 points, the resilience shown in these games and ability to fight back and get the win proved pivotal in the Jayco Rangers booking a finals berth for the seventh consecutive season.

The Dandenong Rangers recorded eight wins and four losses at home, the equal second best record along with Sydney, Townsville and Canberra, behind Perth with nine wins and three losses. The Jayco Rangers had seven wins and five losses on the road, giving them the outright second best record on the road behind Sydney who recorded 10 wins and two losses.

Despite being the higher ranked team in their semi final Dandenong made two flights across the country in three days in the lead-up to their deciding game three against Perth on Sunday March 5. Flying from Melbourne to Perth on the Thursday and then flying back to Melbourne from Perth on Saturday after losing their Friday night game 2 at Bendat Basketball Stadium. After the Rangers game 3 victory against Perth head coach Larissa Anderson was asked at the post-game press conference “What is it like to be in the Grand Final?” Larissa responded, “Amazing, absolutely amazing, I could not be more proud of these girls, it shows so much character to come back from such a disappointment on Friday night but we always knew it was going to be really tough to go over to Perth on Friday night on their terms, on their turf, they are a great team and I really do want to congratulate them on a great season, Andy (Perth Lynx head coach Andy Stewart) and I just commented on what a wonderful series it has been, stressful and tight and two teams that match up with each other exceptionally well. So I could not be more proud, we had really sore bodies, that is a lot of flying in three days and I was a little worried, that is what I was most stressed about after the game on Friday night, not the loss so much, it was how the bodies were going to pull up today, I knew how tired I felt so I could only imagine what the girls felt, and I just could not be more proud of this lot, they’re amazing.” Several people including Australian Opal Rachel Jarry suggested a fairer outcome for WNBL three game series would be for two games to be played on the first weekend and the third game to be played on the second weekend with the higher ranked team continuing to host games 1 and 3 (if required). This would also lead to improved attendance in game three with fans having close to a week’s notice between games 2 and 3, instead of less than 48 hours between the two games for this season’s semi final series between Dandenong and Perth.

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Without question the Sydney Uni Flames have been the best team in the WNBL during the 2016/17 season and despite two of their best six players in Snell and Tahlia Tupaea missing 19 games between them due to injury Sydney easily won the WNBL minor premiership three games clear of their nearest rivals, Dandenong and Perth. Dandenong have been far more settled and only one player form their core nine player rotation has missed more than one of the club’s 27 games this season, with Novosel missing eight games due to a knee injury and playing restricted minutes in other games. Sydney Uni Flames head coach Cheryl Chambers won the WNBL’s 2016/17 Coach of the Year award in her first season coaching Sydney, having previously coached the Bulleen Boomers for eight seasons from 2001/02 to 2008/09.

It is no coincidence that the only two clubs with at least four players averaging over 10.0 points in 2016/17 – The Sydney Uni Flames and the Jayco Dandenong Rangers have advanced to the 2016/17 Grand Final.  Sydney have five players in this category, being their starters – Asia Taylor (16.5 points per game), Leilani Mitchell (16.1), Belinda Snell (12.8), Alex Wilson (11.3) and Jennifer Hamson (11.0). The Dandenong Rangers have four players in this category – Cumming (17.6), Blicavs (15.3),  Novosel (11.6) and Malott (10.4). The remaining five players in the Rangers core nine-player rotation are front-court players Scherf, Kennedy and Fadljevic along with guards Clydesdale and Todhunter, the only one of these five players averaging less than five points per game is Fadljevic who’s greatest strength is her defense.

Whilst Sydney and Dandenong both have outstanding depth the Grand Final will also feature four players that finished in the top seven of the WNBL 2016/17 MVP Award, comprised of two Sydney players – point guard Mitchell and forward Taylor and two Dandenong players – forward Blicavs and shooting guard Cumming. As well as featuring some of the best offensive players in the WNBL the Grand Final will also feature some of the league’s best defenders with Mitchell and Todhunter both finishing in the top four of the WNBL 2016/17 WNBL Defensive Player of the Year award and Cumming having won this award in 2015/16.

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In the three regular season meetings between Sydney and Dandenong the home side won each game. Sydney controlled the game on December 17 to comfortably win 82-67. The games between the clubs on December 3 at Dandenong Basketball Stadium and February 11 at Brydens Stadium followed a similar pattern, in both games the visiting side built a sizable lead only to be overrun by the home team and lose the game. On December 3 Sydney led by 13 points at half-time however the Rangers dominated the third term 26-14 led by 10 points from Blicavs and won the game by eight points 91-83. On February 11 Dandenong led by 13 points, 47-34 with three minutes and 10 seconds remaining in the first half. Sydney finished the first half strongly to reduce the margin to 6 points at the main break. The Jayco Rangers led by seven points 74-67 with five and a half minutes remaining, however turnovers and a low field goal percentage when the game was on the line contributed to Sydney overpowering them, outscoring the Rangers 14-3 for the remainder of the game to win by four points 81-77. Asia Taylor missed the game on December 3 due to concussion so whilst the Rangers have beaten Sydney in 2016/17 they have not defeated a full-strength Flames line-up. The Rangers controlled large portions of their four point loss in the most recent clash between the two clubs with Taylor playing and will have learnt from the late game fade-out and have strategies in place to retain their composure when the game is on the line if a similar scenario presents itself during the best of three Grand Final series.

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Tonight the Brydens Sydney Uni Flames host the Dandenong Rangers in game 1 of the 2016/17 WNBL Grand Final. It will be the third season that the two clubs have met in the Grand Final with Dandenong winning on the two previous occasions by 10 points in 2003/04 and five points in 2004/05. Although Sydney haven’t defeated Dandenong in a Grand Final they have defeated Dandenong in several other finals including the last time the two clubs met in a final, winning the 2014/15 semi final at Dandenong Basketball Stadium by nine points 89-80.

Given their outstanding form throughout the 2016/17 season and ability to cope with adversity when key players were missing, the Sydney Uni Flames deservedly start favourites for the 2016/17 Grand Final series. As was the case when the sides met in the 2004/05 Grand Final two Sydney players were named in the 2016/17 WNBL All-Star five, Mitchell and Taylor whilst no Ranger was selected. Sydney players also have greater experience in bugger games on the world stage with Mitchell and Snell both representing the Australian Opals at the Olympics. In the key statistical categories of scoring, assists and rebounds Sydney have two players ranked in the top seven of the league, being Mitchell for scoring and assists, Taylor for scoring and rebounds, Snell for assists and Hamson for rebounds. At 200 centimetres Hamson will have a big size advantage over the Rangers centre which the Flames will be looking to exploit on the offensive end. However the Rangers particularly if they go for a smaller line-up like Malott who is as an accomplished three-point shooter playing as an undersized centre will look to spread the floor and make it more difficult for Hamson to remain in the paint on defense.

Dandenong on the other hand only have one player ranked in the top of the WNBL for scoring, assists and rebounds – Cumming ranked fourth for scoring. Whilst Sydney have had the better season and have more players on the leaderboard in the key statistical categories the Dandenong roster has been together for longer with only minor changes between the 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons whilst only three players from Sydney’s 2015/16 roster are part of the club’s core 10 player rotation in 2016/17, Wilson, Tupaea and Carly Boag. The increased familiarity that the Rangers players and coaches have with each other, both at WNBL and SEABL level will be an asset for the Jayco Rangers during the 2016/17 WNBL Grand Final against Sydney. Dandenong Rangers head coach Larissa Anderson comments “The players that have been with me for the last few years know exactly how I work and I know exactly how they work, so that definitely has to give us an advantage because I believe we know how to get the best out of each other. It’s a completely different dynamic and chemistry though because this is a higher level and we have added other quality players to the core group. My short-term plan was to try and make a grand final in our first three years so to make it in our second year, with the same core and a great couple of additions, is a huge accomplishment by the group and I couldn’t be more proud of them.’’7

For Anderson 2016/17 is the first season that she has made the WNBL Grand Final, having twice lost in a preliminary final as a player. On the Jayco Rangers making the 2016/17 Grand Final against Sydney Anderson said “It is quite a fabulous achievement for the group but we’re under no illusions making it is good enough, we’re going to do everything we can to try and win it.”8

By Dean Andrews

Twitter – @DeanAndrews7777

1 The Age, Rangers face tough tests as heat builds by Roy Ward, December 4, 2015, page 38

2 http://dandenong.starcommunity.com.au/journal/2015-10-08/rangers-ready-to-excite/

3 http://dandenong.starcommunity.com.au/journal/2015-10-08/rangers-ready-to-excite/

4 http://wnbl.com.au/dandenong_news/steph-cumming-re-signs/

5 http://www.coachinglife.com.au/article/larissa-anderson-wnbl-head-coach-dandenong-jayco-rangers/

6 http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/outer-east/sport/kilsyth-star-steph-cumming-finds-time-amid-busy-year-to-win-consecutive-seabl-mvp-awards/news-story/8f87a7dde49540028ce59d44b5e17150

7 http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/south-east/sport/wnbl-grand-final-2017-dandenong-rangers-larissa-anderson-reaches-her-first-grand-final-as-player-coach/news-story/76263bfea0180a6e708e2e7913dc53fa

8 http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/south-east/sport/wnbl-grand-final-2017-dandenong-rangers-larissa-anderson-reaches-her-first-grand-final-as-player-coach/news-story/76263bfea0180a6e708e2e7913dc53fa

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