Headlining the group is veteran guard Chantella Perera. The lightning quick Perera has played a key role in helping the Lady Cobras win back-to-back South Conference championships, and her ability to slash to the basket and knock down perimeter jump shots has made her one of SEABL’s most dangerous reserves.

“It is always important to have a player with Channy’s experience on the team,” Lady Cobras Head Coach Sam Woosnam said.

“She had some big games for us in 2016 and will be vital to our success this year in the absence of Steph (Cumming) and Jasmine (Gill).  She is deadly when she gets in the lanes and pushes the ball in the open court and we hope to see a lot more of that this season.”

Joining Perera in the backcourt is Jenna Verhoef-Jenkins, with the lefty guard giving Kilsyth another dangerous perimeter shooter off the bench. After struggling with injuries in recent years, Verhoef-Jenkins has impressed Coach Woosnam with a vigorous off-season fitness regime, which sees her in excellent shape and ready for a productive season ahead.

“Jenna has worked extremely hard in the off season to improve her fitness and the benefits of this are really showing on the court,” Woosnam said.

“With more confidence, we are looking for her to back up Jordy (O’Shea) in the point position and play a much bigger role this season.  She is very coachable and is always looking to improve and learn and we know she will take whatever opportunities are handed to her and give us 100 percent effort.”

Returning for her second year at Kilsyth is forward Genna Ogier. The teenager was a revelation over the second half of the 2016 season, helping to fill the void left by the injured Rosie Moult. Ogier’s length, athleticism and versatility will be key for the Lady Cobras in 2017, and Woosnam is expecting her rising star to have a big season ahead.

“When we lost Rosie to injury last year, Genna stepped up and did a great job for us in her first SEABL season,” Woosnam said.

“We will be expecting a lot more of her this season both offensively and defensively.  She is a great athlete and a very hard worker, and with improved strength, we hope to see her take advantage of the opportunity in front of her and become a key contributor in 2017. 

Bolstering the Lady Cobras frontcourt is centre Brittany Renton. Following an injury-riddled 2016 season, the now healthy Renton gives Kilsyth another strong presence in the paint, where she will be joined by reigning SEABL Defensive Player of the Year, Emily Fryters, import Angela Beadle, and the recently un-retired Sarah Parsons. Last season Renton showed off a much improved perimeter jump shot, with her ability to space the floor and stretch opposing bigs a key asset to the Lady Cobras second unit.

“After suffering a very disappointing injury towards the end of the season last year, it’s great to have Britt back for another season,” Woosnam said.

“She is a team first player and will play an important role backing up Angela in the ‘five’ spot.  She also has a great outside shot which means we are able to open up the floor when she is in the game.”

Rounding out the Lady Cobras roster are guards Emily van Poppel and Caragh Spicer. Though she missed all of 2015 and much of 2016 with a torn ACL, van Poppel gives Kilsyth a strong backcourt presence off the bench, with her high motor and energy set to give the second unit a spark in 2017.

Spicer returns to Kilsyth for her third SEABL season, and along with Perera and Verhoef-Jenkins, gives the Lady Cobras another three-point shooting threat off the bench. Spicer has produced some impressive performances in limited minutes over the past two seasons, with her ability to catch fire in a hurry an asset for Woosnam’s team.

The Lady Cobras open their 2017 regular season on Saturday night as they head to Frankston to take on the Blues. Tip-off is scheduled for 6pm, with the Cobra Men to follow at 8pm. You can watch both games live here:

Kilsyth Cobras vs Frankston Blues – SEABL Round 1 Live Stream