FOUR recruits are committed to Warrnambool Mermaids' division one championship defence.
Elise Thurman, Maddy Whitford, Dakota Crichton and Tyleah Barr will suit up for the Lee Primmer-coached side this season, which begins on March 18.
They are part of a 15-player roster which includes teenager Poppy Myers who has been elevated into the main squad.
Amy Wormald, Molly McKinnon, Mia Mills, Molly McLaren, Cigi Lual, Ava Bishop, Keele Hillas, Paiyton Noonan, Matilda Sewell and assistant coach Louise Brown, who is likely to have a delayed start, all return.
Five players - Lara Clarke, Shelby O'Sullivan, Hannah O'Keefe, Eve Covey and Emily Saffin - were named in a development group.
Primmer said the Mermaids would be without experienced duo Katie O'Keefe - the MVP in the 2022 grand final series - and Kate Sewell who have stepped away for the 2023 season.
But he is confident the new recruits can help offset their losses.
Crichton, who represented Victoria at the under 20 national championships earlier this year, has already represented the Mermaids in the Country Basketball League.
Thurman has moved to the south-west for work. The Dunkeld-based basketballer has a job in healthcare in Hamilton.
"She played last season for Waverley in the youth league championship (grade)," Primmer said.
"She's six foot and I've seen her (at training) four or five times.
"She's a bit stronger because she's a bit older than the younger kids - she's 23."
Whitford - the girlfriend of North Warrnambool Eagles footballer Sam McKinnon - has moved to Warrnambool.
She hurt her knee at training and is in her recovery phase but is expected to have an impact when available.
"Maddy has played as a junior at a pretty high level in Launceston," Primmer said.
"I went and watched her played a domestic game (in Warrnambool) and it was the first time she stepped foot in the stadium and I just happened to be there.
"She is very, very keen. She won't play until after Easter.
"She is very fit, strong and a 26-year-old so it just gives us a little bit more strength to help the kids out.
"I reckon as the season goes she'll just get better and better."
Barr is from Portland and was a prolific scorer for the Coasters in the CBL.
"She is a very nice player," Primmer said.
"She is committed 100 per cent to playing basketball with the Mermaids this year and we're pretty rapt about that because she's very exciting."
Myers played for Victoria's under 16 team as a bottom-age player last year.
Primmer said the Port Fairy-based athlete would be involved in high-level junior pathway programs but would play Big V when available.
The Mermaids, who start their season against Bellarine Storm at the Arc, are bullish about their chances.
Primmer - a long-time coach who will have O'Keefe and Nicole Gynes as off-court support - said the younger players would enjoy natural improvement.
"I am excited to see what we can do," he said.
"Dakota is a very, very good defender and will probably still get 10 or 12 points a game, just because she gets it in hustle.
"I am looking forward to Paiyton Noonan playing minutes and Molly McLaren was really hitting her straps because she got injured in the CBL and under 18s.
"I know Tyleah if I play her 20 minutes she's going to have seven or eight shots and that will give her a chance to have 10 points and Keele last year we never saw the best of her because of sickness.
"She had a couple of good CBL games and if she finds her flow in the group, there's a chance we could get more input from her offensively and defensively."
The Mermaids will run a pre-season camp in Warrnambool on Friday night and Saturday.
It will include a team dinner, training sessions and pilates and be used as a team-bonding exercise.
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