Craigieburn Eagles hoping to build

Ben Carroll. Picture Shawn Smits

tara Murray

Craigieburn Eagles are looking to build on last season in Big V women’s division 1.

After just missing out on finals and having lost to the champions, Hawthorn Magic, in a buzzer beater, the Eagles know they weren’t that far away.

Eagles coach Ben Carroll said it had been a really positive pre-season.

“Last year we had a relatively new group and we didn’t find our feet until a month into the season and it was catch up after that.

“We had respectable results down the stretch.

“Everyone has been talking about how much better this pre-season has been.”

The Eagles were set to start their season on Saturday night against Mildura Heat, but the season has postponed until further notice.

Basketball Victoria has suspended all basketball programs, including regular weeknight competitions, due to COVID-19. Further updates are expected this week.

The Eagles have kept the core group of players together again and didn’t go out looking to add too many players.

Carroll said they were pretty happy with the group they had and wanted to build on that. He said trying to keep players as one-club players was something that the association really focused on, which helped build a really strong culture.

Nicola Stewart, who last played for the Eagles in 2017, is the main inclusion.

She spent a number of years in the Eagles youth league side before that.

Megan Butler, who captained the youth league side last season, has stepped up after aging out of the youth league competition.

Carroll said Butler had shown some good early signs.

“She has relished the opportunity this pre-season and she has done really well in the practice matches.”

Carroll said the relationship between the senior and youth leagues sides was an important one and a key focus for the club.

“The goal is to make finals, but more important to get everyone together to build a core group with the youth league.

“They compliment the team we have in the senior team. In the past we’ve bloodied a couple of youngsters.

“Carley Cranston has been training with us every week and we’re hoping to blood a few more in the middle of the season.

“The youth league side is really young.”

After being competitive in their first season back in division 1 after earning promotion, Carroll said they were definitely keen to build on that.

He said they were comfortable in the league and where they sit.