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SEABL side a bonus for Caps

Canberra Capitals coach Carrie Graf is hopeful several of her players will stay put over the WNBL off-season and inject some class into the club's new SEABL feeder club.

And star centre Marianna Tolo hasn't ruled out being part of next year' inaugural roster.

Lauding it as ''a significant step forward'' for Canberra basketball, Graf said positive flow-on effects for the WNBL program will be immense.

Canberra has fielded a women's side in the Waratah League in recent years, but were granted promotion to the second-tier SEABL last weekend.

''It's great for our emerging talent base, and we hope some of our [Capitals WNBL] players play in that and develop their game there,'' Graf said. ''It's a chance for players like a Molly Lewis to be a 'go to' in that team, and develop those skills we're working on with her.''

Several Capitals play elsewhere over the WNBL's winter break. Carly Wilson (Nunawading), Molly Lewis and Nicole Hunt (Launceston) and Brigitte Ardossi (Sandringham) played for interstate SEABL outfits this year while Jess Bibby and Hannah Bowley played for Gladstone.


Canberra's roster won't be paid but rich clubs, particularly Victoria, offer contracts comparable to the WNBL.

Tolo said commitments away from the court may prompt some players to ignore the riches elsewhere and remain in Canberra.

''It is something some of the girls who work and study will probably consider,'' Tolo said.

''I haven't thought about next off-season at all with the [Australian] Opals commitments I might be on, but I'll definitely consider it if I'm here anyway.''

Tolo is off contract at the end of this season and the Capitals will be desperate to retain arguably their most important player.

It is believed some former Capitals, including championship-winning skipper Kellie Abrams, are weighing up playing for the SEABL side.

For now, the Capitals are focussed on keeping their season alive by beating Sydney at home on Saturday.

The second-placed Flames [8-3] are in strong form, but the Capitals [4-8] are confident they match up well against their arch rival and can spring an upset.

Canberra stretched league leaders Adelaide to the limit on the road on Sunday, and that performance has given them confidence.

Saturday's game against Sydney is the first of six straight at home for the Capitals, a stretch Graf admitted they must take advantage of to remain in the finals hunt.

''If we play like we did against Adelaide with these home games before Christmas we'll be in a good position, and we have to find a way to win these ones,'' she said.

''We didn't get the win Adelaide, but for where we're at with our current roster and the way we started the season, that was one of our better performances.''