Keely Froling steels Nationals rebuild
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Keely Froling steels Nationals rebuild

Keely Froling has gone from rising star to bona fide veteran in the blink of an eye - but the newly-crowned WNBL champion laughs feeling old might take some getting used to.

Veteran status is usually reserved for someone vastly more experienced than a 23-year-old, but Canberra Capitals forward Froling is relishing the responsibility in a new-look Canberra Nationals outfit.

Keely Froling is right at home in Canberra.

Keely Froling is right at home in Canberra.Credit:Elesa Kurtz

Froling will lead a young Nationals side searching for their first win of the Waratah League season against the Central Coast Crusaders at Belconnen Basketball Stadium on Saturday.

Fresh off a standout performance in the Nationals' season opener, Froling is determined to lead Canberra to their first victory of the season alongside WNBL rookie Abby Cubillo.

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"I feel pretty old in the team actually, so that’s different," Froling said.

"I try to help out where I can and lead by example, and just be a leader for the young kids and show them what we need to do and how we need to do it. Hopefully they take that on board and they can start playing pretty well too.

"We do have a good group, we’re really young. It’s going to take a bit of time for the girls to get used to the different style of play, it’s really physical. We have a lot of potential, and when Gazey [Kate Gaze] gets back in it will be really good for us, it will help us a lot.

"We lost a few of our older players from last year. Sarah McAppion went down with that knee injury, she’s still recovering, and we had a few imports last year. A few of the young girls are still around too and we’ve added in a fair few up and coming BACT kids."

If trading her rising star status to become a bona fide veteran amidst a growing pile of university work wasn't enough to keep Froling busy, she has picked up another job while she is at it.

Froling is moonlighting as a Canberra Capitals recruitment officer with group messages and Snapchats the main tools in her arsenal as she tries to lure her title-winning teammates back to town.

Keely Froling has found another level in her WNBL career.

Keely Froling has found another level in her WNBL career.Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

The 23-year-old is one of four players on the books for the 2019-20 WNBL season alongside superstar co-captains Kelsey Griffin and Marianna Tolo, as well as emerging prospect Kristy Wallace.

But Canberra still have plenty of stars on the market - and Froling is doing everything she can to ensure they're pulling on a Capitals uniform come October.

"I’m always trying to work on them to try to get them back. Obviously we want our whole team to come back," Froling said.

"We still have our group message going, we’ll pop things in that every now and then. On Snapchat I’ll be sending them things like ‘look what you’re missing out on, please come back’."

WARATAH LEAGUE ROUND TWO

Saturday: Women's - Canberra Nationals v Central Coast Crusaders at Belconnen Basketball Stadium, 3pm.

Saturday: Men's - Canberra Gunners v Central Coast Crusaders at Belconnen Basketball Stadium, 5pm.

Caden Helmers is a sports reporter for The Canberra Times

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