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Abrams boosts SEABL outfit

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Kellie Abrams retired from the elite level two years ago, and hasn't even looked at a basketball for the past eight months.

But the former Canberra Capitals skipper said the chance to be part of something new is behind a decision to play for the city's fledging SEABL outfit this year.

Abrams won six WNBL titles with the Capitals, three as captain, and her leadership will be invaluable to help nurture what will be a youthful Canberra side.

''Mentally I'm confirmed [to play], physically is another thing, but I have no hesitation I'll be right to play,'' the 33-year-old Abrams said.

''I haven't touched a ball in eight months, and haven't even been playing domestic comp.

''I continue to go to gym and play Oztag and netball, but basketball fitness is a completely different thing.

''I'm getting married too so it's a win-win, I get to keep fit and be part of something fun, which will take my mind off things.''

In another boost, Capitals starter Michelle Cosier has also indicated she will play in the side's inaugural season, which tips off in March.

Cosier's availability is a massive coup, given Canberra don't pay their players and richer clubs are likely to boast two or three WNBL players.

After several years of campaigning, Canberra were granted entry to the SEABL competitition in December.

Canberra won last year's Waratah League title, a league well below SEABL standard.

Abrams, who attended her first training session last night, said the promotion to Australia's second-tier league will make the jump to the WNBL less daunting for ACT juniors.

''I played in the Waratah League before, years ago, and we pretty much dominated that league without sounding arrogant,'' Abrams said.

''I thought the SEABL would offer more of a challenge. For girls like [Capitals bench] Lauren Jansen, this will give her an opportunity to come back and apply what she's learnt in the Capitals program.''

The former shooting guard hoped her leadership would come in handy for the youngsters she is set to play alongside.

Most of last year's Waratah League squad will return, including key pieces Michaela Dalgleish, Jansen and Alyce Shearing.

Coach Sandy Tomley, who is also a Capitals assistant, is hopeful of luring some players from the AIS WNBL franchise.

Should that unfold Canberra will have the makings of a solid line-up, and Tomley is confident of fielding a squad that can be competitive immediately.

''We're talking to a couple of [AIS players] and we're waiting to confirm that,'' Tomley said. ''I'd be hoping we can at least go middle of the road.

''To come into a new competition where you may not have any understanding of how you're going to go, it would be silly to say we're going to win the championship.''

Giving birth to her first child late last year has not slowed any of Tomley's longer-term aspirations to eventually assume the position of an WNBL head coach.

''It's definitely something I'd love to do, but there's only ten around and not all of them are full-time pay either,'' Tomley said.

''Having my son's an added bonus but I still think it's doable.''

This reporter is on Twitter: @noeltowell

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