TWO of the most potent offensive sides from a season ago will faceoff when Brisbane opens its ABL title defence against Canberra tonight.
The Cavalry (320 runs) and Bandits (300) scored more runs than any other sides during the regular season last season.
But they enter 2016 with new faces.
There are familiar ones too.
Brisbane will turn to returning import Rick Teasley to start game one.
The left-hander went 7-4 last season and recorded a 3.01 ERA.
Canberra’s big-name recruit David Kandilas will make his debut in orange after shifting from Sydney in the offseason.
The outfielder hit .150 in seven games with the Blue Sox last season but is a .276 career hitter in the ABL.
Game 1: Thursday, 7.30pm AEDT
Game 2: Friday, 7.30pm AEDT
Game 3: Saturday, 7.30pm AEDT
Game 4: Sunday, 2.00pm AEDT
TV: Game 1: Thursday, 7.30pm AEDT @ ABLtv.com
Expected starters :
Bandits – Rick Teasley (0-0, -.–), Justin Erasmus (0-0, -.–), Kramer Champlin (0-0, -.–), Daniel Nilsson (0-0, -.–)
Cavalry – Lee Sosa (0-0, -.–), Hayden Beard (0-0, -.–), Josh DeGraaf (0-0, -.–), Sean Guinard (0-0, -.–)
Players to watch:
Bandits – Logan Wade was an important figure in Brisbane’s red-hot offence last season. Wade, 25, held his own alongside imports Justin Williams, Riley Unroe and Donald Lutz. The utility batted .315 and drove in 20 runs in 35 games.
Cavalry – Catcher Robbie Perkins will have greater opportunity at Canberra this season without Jack Murphy in the side. Perkins, 22, hit just .183 last season after batting .302 a year earlier. He still drove in 12 runs, four less than 2014/15, and should be a dangerous player in the Cave’ batting lineup.
What you need to know:
- The Bandits were 23-5 at Holloway Field during the regular season in 2015/16.
- The Cavs won the regular-season series between the sides 7-5.
- Brisbane and Canberra met on opening weekend last season with the Cavs winning the series 3-1 at home.
The Cavalry enter Opening Weekend missing key players and face a difficult task against the reigning champions. Brisbane will front up without a couple of imports who have been delayed by visa issues but should be far too strong for Canberra at home.