At the conclusion of the 2015 season, we look back on how the teams from Frankston fared.
FRANKSTON LADY BLUES
Wins – 11
Losses – 11
Standing – 6th South Conference
2013 result – 17 wins 7 losses, 2nd South Conference
Despite being out of playoff contention, Frankston showed their professionalism by winning six of their last seven games including a sweep of the Tasmanian road trip. Although they were not available for the entire year, Maddie Garrick and Kate Gaze provided an offensive punch and both shot over 33% from the three-point line. Thanks in large part to Kelly Bowen and Emily Fryters, they were the best rebounding team in the league.
The Lady Blues were unable to give their fans much to cheer about during the season, going 4-7 at home with an average losing margin of 14 points. Despite a strong presence on the boards, their quality front-court was unable to translate into defence, allowing 45% shooting from two-point range, recording the second lowest amount of blocks and giving up the sixth most amount of points.
Without a doubt, Bowen kept Frankston afloat for most of the season and a double-double average of 22.3 points (second in the league) and 10.6 rebounds (fourth) saw her finish second in the MVP voting. She also recorded 2.2 steals per game (second), accounting for a third of the Lady Blues’ interceptions.
With Michael Brookens already signed for next season as head coach, his job must be to ensure they retain most of their list while also blooding some rookies to balance the likes of Fryters and Patrice McKenzie. Garrick is one of the stars of the league but if national commitments continue to keep her away from the team, Frankston will be desperate to replace her with a similarly gifted player.
Although this space is usually reserved for less experienced players and Carly Chatfield has recorded over 100 SEABL games, 2015 was her most productive season as he doubled her career averages in points and rebounds. Her 186cm frame cuts an imposing figure at the defensive end and if she and Fryters can increase their block numbers, the Lady Blues will have one of the best defensive duo’s in the league.
GRADE – 6/10
Wins – 3
Losses – 21
Standing – 7th South Conference
2013 result – 12 wins 14 losses, 5th South Conference
With an 0-6 record, Eric Williams arrived in Round 6 and made an immediate impact, scoring 42 points as the Blues recorded their first victory of the season. He followed that up with another 40-point performance before finishing with an average of 17.8 and 6.5 rebounds. Robbie Linton was a dead-eye from beyond the arc, nailing three three-pointers per game at 44% (fourth best in the league).
As the worst defensive team and worst rebounding team in the league, Frankston were always going to struggle to put together a winning record. They were the only team in the South Conference not to succeed on the road and rounded out the year with an eight-game losing streak.
A tireless competitor, Brandon Polk collected nine double-doubles for the year at an average of 15.3 points, ten boards and three assists (a career-high). He was regularly forced to play 30+ minutes in a diminished front court, taking the opposition’s best defender while simultaneously trying to shut him down. His strike rate of 51% from the field was the fourth highest for players with 200+ field goal attempts.
A new head coach, Grant Wallace, will bring a fair amount of SEABL experience to the role and one of his first tasks will be to hold on a consistent import to compliment the younger players coming through the system. Losing a number of key players last year put them behind the eight-ball and Wallace will be keen to avoid a repeat of that in 2016.
Despite such a famous surname, Jack Gaze, the second cousin of Andrew, seems to take any perceived pressure in his stride as he competes in SEABL alongside his sister, Kate. Jack (eight points, three rebounds) bumped all his numbers up after debuting in 2014, with a 20-point performance against Geelong (which included 5-11 three-point shooting) showcasing that trademark Gaze shooting ability.