Season preview written by Kasey Cornwell. The Harvey Norman Ballarat Rush will be an improved faster and exciting team this year. While their pre-season has been a bit disrupted, with a number of girls coming and going, the team has been boosted by some big inclusions from the WNBL, with the likes of Shanae Greaves, Jess May, Olivia Thompson and the return of Abbey Wehrung. Peter Cunning Head Coach insists the girls have been giving it their all at trainings and working very hard. He conceded that they are not the only team in the league with a disrupted pre-season and he doesn’t see this as a disadvantage for the season ahead. The girls will definitely look different on the court. There will be a lot more height on the court, but they will be much more mobile and fast paced. The girls are planning on moving, cutting and driving a lot more. This kind of game style will be really exciting and Peter thinks the supporters will like that. The co-captain Abbey Wehrung was preparing well for the season, and suffered a set back recently. She will sit on the sidelines for up to 4 weeks after having her appendix out. Peter conceded this will affect the team as she is such a dynamic player and runs the floor well. The younger players will have to step up, just as they would have had to if she played and was doubled teamed. So while they will miss her drive, shooting and flexibility, Peter is confident some of the younger girls will be able to step it up for a few weeks to fill the hole. No chances will be taken, and Abbey will have to be 100% before her return to the side. Peter is excited about the other inclusions from the WNBL, and expressed that they have been sensational in terms of their leadership and experience. While Olivia Thompson will be a little bit underdone in terms of fitness and touch due to the conflicting schedules of the WNBL and SEABL, alongside Shanae Greaves and Jess May they will be very valuable players for the Harvey Norman Ballarat Rush. Shanae Greaves is ecstatic to be apart of the Rush side for this year, while Jess May and Shanae arrived late to the preseason, they have gelled together with the team really well. Shanae has enjoyed the preseason and has improved her fitness due to the program set by Rush coaching staff. She concedes that the preseason has been a bit disrupted, and while there will be some spots to fill with their starting five, she is confident they will be able to do so. The offence is good and their flexibility is also, so Shanae is not worried about having to fill the gaps. Peter Cunningham’s fast paced game style will really suit Shanae, as that’s the kind of game she enjoys, she prefers to run the ball as opposed to posting up. She confirmed that the team would be better suited to game plan like this, as there is many athletic types in the side this season. During the preseason tournament in Geelong the girls acknowledged they didn’t play as well as they wanted but during the last game of the tournament they all got together at half time and decided that they really want a good start before the season commences. The girls were all motivating each other in order to get back out on the court and give it a real go. The motivation was evident and the side came out with a much-improved effort and ended with a win under their belt. Shanae thinks the team can continue to do this throughout the season and the girls will continue to be great motivators for each other. Peter’s goal for the season ahead is to create a pathway for Ballarat and the region’s youth and he hopes the younger girls can play bigger roles and be more dynamic players within the Rush side this year. The Harvey Norman Ballarat Rush side has worked hard over the preseason and is ready for the season to begin. With new additions and improvements to the team structure, Peter Cunningham is hopeful “that’ll be enough to get us to the 8 and after that anything can happen” The Harvey Norman Ballarat Rush kick off the season against Bendigo on April 10 at 6:00pm at the MARS ® MINERDOME. The GMHBA Miners also kick off their season against Bendigo at 8:00pm, so don’t forget to stick around to see that game. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at the MARS ® MINERDOME.