NBL1 Round 1 Preview – Start of a new era for Perth Redbacks

The Perth Redbacks will be part of history on Friday night as part of the first ever evening of action for the inaugural NBL1 West competition.

The SBL has transformed into the NBL1 West competition in 2021 with the league now falling under the NBL national banner, and it’s only fitting for the Redbacks to be taking part on the historic first night of action this Friday.

The Redbacks will be on the road for the Round 1 up against the Warwick Senators at Warwick Stadium on Friday night win what shapes up as being two fascinating matchups.

It gets underway with the women’s contest from 6.30pm with the men’s game to follow at 8.30pm.

There is plenty to be excited about with the Redbacks team that has been put together for the 2021 NBL1 West season.

The signs were exciting with what the group produced last year in the West Coast Classic winning six of the 11 matches.

The frontcourt pairing of Maddie Allen and Jess Jakens was especially encouraging with Allen delivering 10.1 points, 12.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists a game while Jakens also produced 16.3 points, 7.2 boards and 2.5 assists.

There were plenty more contributors too with Shenae Hartree producing 8.2 points and 4.2 rebounds, Bri Bailey 7.9 points, 2.9 boards and 2.7 assists, Denielle Lipscombe 6.0 points and 5.2 rebounds, Ella Thornton-Elliott 4.4 points and 1.7 boards, and Sarah Allen 4.3 points and 1.8 rebounds.

Then there is the additional of Makailah Dyer for the Redbacks who returns to the club after it being originally where she began her SBL career back in 2018.

She went on to have a brilliant season at the South West Slammers in 2019 where she was runner-up in league MVP voting and now it’s going to be exciting to see what she’s capable of bringing to the Redbacks in 2021.

Redbacks women’s coach Craig Allen is excited by the group he is going to have at his disposal as the season unfolds and he’s looking forward to getting off to a good start against the Senators on Friday night.

“We are happy with the players signed at the moment and we’ll see where we go from here,” Allen said.

“The exciting part about the club right now is the chance to grow and develop a program, and having the great majority of last season’s group re-sign is a bit of an endorsement that we are heading in the right direction.

“The other exciting thing is that almost everyone has signed two-year contracts as well so it’s fantastic to have that stability and to know that we now can build something for multiple years. We have that core group together locked away and that’s really exciting to be honest.”

Then there is the Redbacks men’s team who has plenty of reasons to be excited about what they are going to be capable of in the second year in charge of coach CJ Jackson.

Looking back to the West Coast Classic last year, the Redbacks played well amassing a 9-4 record to only miss out on reaching the top four by the narrowest of margins.

There were plenty of players who stood up to play impressive basketball too last year for the Redbacks including Marshall Nelson who put up 21.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists.

Caleb White also put up 18.0 points and 3.7 rebounds, Tevin Jackson 12.5 points and 6.2 rebounds, Joel Wagner 6.5 points and 6.4 assists, and there were plenty more who made strong contributions at different times.

Zac Gattorna made just the two appearances last year for the Redbacks so he’ll be like a virtual new recruit and exciting big man Louis Timms is a new recruit along with Denzel Jackson.

Redbacks men’s coach CJ Jackson has everyone reason to be excited for what lies ahead for his team in 2021.

“It’s exciting for me first of all to now have both of my boys playing at the club so I’m delighted about that,” Jackson said.

“The same goes for Edo to have his son Kyden and even for Andrew Vlahov to have Ethan here, for us to have those next-generation players at the club is an exciting thing.

“It provides that link between us all from our playing days for the club and now with our kids continuing that on so it’s so good to see that.”

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