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Capitals gain new junior pathway

Canberra will field a women's team in the South-East Australian Basketball League (SEABL) for the first time next year after being granted a license on the weekend.

On a landmark day for Canberra basketball, SEABL members voted to promote the defending Waratah League champions to its competition at a meeting on Saturday.

Previously known as the Canberra Nationals, the team will play under the Canberra Capitals Academy banner in Australia's second-tier league, bringing it in line with the city's WNBL outfit.

Basketball ACT has campaigned for years for the right to field a female SEABL side and its success will have many positive outcomes.

It gives local juniors a higher quality competition to play in, giving them a better platform to develop and graduate to WNBL level.

Michaela Dalgleish, who skippered the side to this year's Waratah League title, said locals now had a viable pathway to follow without being forced to leave home.


''It's exciting and I definitely support bridging that gap a bit,'' Dalgleish said.

''It makes it a bit more realistic for the juniors coming up, having a better understanding of the expect-ations and the jump up to Caps [WNBL] level.

''For girls like [Capitals WNBL bench player] Lauren Jansen, it is important to have game time at a level where they can showcase themselves.''

Given the SEABL is played during the WNBL's winter off-season, Dalgleish is hopeful a handful of Canberra Capitals players will suit up for the team.

Like their male equivalent the Canberra Gunners the players won't be paid, while richer SEABL clubs can offer big contracts. A number of Capitals stars play for interstate teams, but Dalgleish is optimistic some may favour the comforts of home over money.

''Some of them get to that point where they're getting their lives together away from basketball,'' Dalgleish said.

''Some may find it beneficial to stay in Canberra and continue their studies, or whatever it may be.''

Capitals WNBL assistant coach Sandy Tomley has been appointed the side's head coach. It will play in the SEABL's East conference, which also features Bendigo, Brisbane, Dandenong, Frankston, Geelong and Sandringham.

This reporter is on Twitter: @tuxy81