The Cockburn Cougars might be remarkably young out there to start the NBL1 West Women’s season on Friday night but there’s plenty to be excited about in regards to what the 2022 campaign could entail.
The Cougars have been building nicely in recent years towards being a genuine contender in the NBL1 West Women’s competition and it’s not a stretch to think they can continue their surge up the rankings in 2022.
Cockburn is already coming off a successful season in many ways in 2021. After starting the season on fire winning six if the first eight games, the Cougars were able to end up locking away a playoff appearance with a 9-9 record at the end of the regular season.
Then once the Cougars got to the playoffs, they pulled off a stunning upset in the elimination final in Rockingham beating the Flames 81-75. While they fell in the semi-final against the Perth Redbacks, they put in another impressive showing away from home to only lose by four points.
That meant that the spirits were high by the end of the season for the Cougars and now there’s every reason to be excited even further looking towards the 2022 NBL1 West season.
With coach Tyrone Thwaites’ future locked away, the building for success not only this year but for the future is fully in place with the Cougars and that has been at the forefront of putting the squad together for 2022.
The retention of WNBL-level big Jessie Edwards is significant as is the signing of another former Perth Lynx guard Jewel Williams. Add them to imports Kat Tudor and Alina Hartmann and that’s an improve starting point to build around for the Cougars.
Add in that Nicole Roberts is back again as captain bringing with her 312 games of experience along with Haylee De Sousa and the recruitment of Zaya Black, and things start to look impressive along with the likes of Tia and Kahlia Morgan, and Jesni Cooper.
There is plenty to be excited about when you look at the potential of the Cougars in the NBL1 West Women’s competition for the 2022 season which begins this Friday night at Wally Hagan Stadium against the East Perth Eagles.
The Cougars then face a stern test on the road on Easter Thursday to the defending champion Willetton Tigers before a trip south to play the South West Slammers on Saturday April 23.
A day later the Cougars host the competition’s newest team the Goldfields Giants leading into a bye.
They will be back in action on Saturday May 7 at home to the Mandurah Magic and then a week later have a semi-final rematch with the Redbacks at Belmont Oasis.
Then following another break, the Cougars will take on the Joondalup Wolves at HBF Arena on Saturday June 11 before a Friday night clash the next week against the Magic in Mandurah.
It’s back home the following Saturday night to host the Lakeside Lightning before being back at Wally Hagan Stadium on Saturday July 2 to play the Wolfpack. It’s another home game the following Friday against Craig Mansfield’s Perry Lakes Hawks.
It’s a trip to Lakeside on Friday July 15 before a home game with Rockingham the following night, and then a trip out to the hills to play the Kalamunda Eastern Suns on Saturday July 23.
It’s a double-header next up starting Friday July 29 away to the Warwick Senators before a home Saturday night fixture with the Slammers, and then the season finished in Kalgoorlie against the Giants on Saturday August 6 and at home to Willetton the following Friday.
While the Cougars import signings won’t be available for the start of the season with both playing in Europe there’s plenty to look forward to when Alina Hartmann returns to Cockburn, and Kat Tudor makes her first appearance.
As for why Tudor has decided firstly come down under to play in the NBL1 West competition, and then join the Cougars, she simply couldn’t say no to the opportunity when it presented both for what it will provide on and off the court in terms of a life experience.
“I have always wanted to visit Australia, and when my agent called me with this opportunity I was very intrigued,” Tudor said.
“The Cockburn Cougars have a terrific fan base — which reminds me of my college experience. And then after speaking with Coach Thwaites, the culture and style of play seemed to just fit. I have heard the NBL1 League is a great competitive league.”
Hartmann is also excited to be preparing to return to the Cougars.
“In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I had resigned to return to play for Cockburn in 2020 but then the pandemic happened and didn’t allow for it to happen,” Hartmann said.
“I truly enjoyed living in Perth, the club, my teammates…I didn’t really expect this would be possible again any time soon. Even happier I am now that it is actually working out and that Tyrone still trusts me/wants me back on the team.”