Defending champs look like team to beat

No 12 for the Magic Mitchell Hughan (left) and No 4 for St Kilda James Ross come up against one...
No 12 for the Magic Mitchell Hughan (left) and No 4 for St Kilda James Ross come up against one another in last year's club final. PHOTO: Gregor Richardson
The Mid City Magic will be chasing a seventh title in eight years when the A grade gets under way today.

They beat the St Kilda Saints in the final last year, reversing the result from the previous season.

They look strong again.

Nuggets trio of Josh Aitcheson, Joe Ahie and Benji Freeman will be influential when they are available.

Ahie is likely to be the most available of the three.

Guard Mitch Hughan is another quality player at both ends of the court. He is a good shooter who gets to the hoop nicely.

Oscar Hickey is a scoring threat as well, and Taiaroa Porima-Flavell is mobile forward.

They open their season against the Andy Bay Falcons.

The Falcons have had a rough summer. Long-serving coach Greg Brockbank has moved north to Auckland and a lot of players have left following his departure.

Matt Pyper has joined the Saints and Hamish Robertson and Sam Senior have moved to the City Rise Bombers.

Toby Lewis will carry an extra load in their absence. He is a skilful, athletic player, while Alex Yarnell is an experienced presence inside.

It does not look a particularly strong roster — lot of new faces.

The Saints, however, have quality throughout. Pyper is a great addition, although he will often be busy with the Nuggets.

Experienced guard James Ross and Nugget Mike Ruske will be influential in the back court, while Lawson Morris-Whyte is a solid inside presence and Danyon Ashcroft is an
athletic swingman.

They have drawn University first-up.

The students have struggled in recent years. They have barely won a game. Forward Ryan Pringle is their best player. He is a quality shooter but it could be a another tough season for his side.

The Mid City Lions will look to their young back court for quality. Noah McDowell and Lachie Cameron are both solid scoring threats.

Oak Chisholm and Christopher Christof are two of the better younger players in Dunedin.

They will play the Bombers who look good on paper when everyone is available.

Nuggets forward Matt Bardsley gets to the hoop at will at club level. Nuggets duo Robbie Coman and Caleb Smiler will be formidable when they are available as well.

Olly Smith is a proven scorer and Maika Shortland puts up a lot of shots.