The Frankston Blues are set to return two of their biggest on and off court stars from a challenging 2018 season, with Dan Trist joining naming rights sponsor Frankston RSL for the inaugural 2019 NBL1 season.

Currently suiting up for Melbourne United in the NBL, Trist’s signing is the first of what second year head coach Andrew Harms promises will be a new-look outfit in 2019.

“We’re really excited to have Dan returning with us in 2019,” explained Harms. “We see Dan not only as one of the premier versatile big men in the competition, but also as a pivotal leader both on and off the floor for our club.”

Trist went a long way to proving just that throughout the 2018 SEABL season, with the 6’8 forward leading the Blues in scoring and rebounding, averaging an impressive 25.2 points and 10.9 rebounds per game on his way to being named the the All-SEABL Second Team. His phenomenal output saw him finish second in the league’s scoring chart, while he was fifth best across the competition for rebounding.

Trist was a model of consistency and efficiency, scoring 20 points or more in every one of his 13 games, including a season-high of 33 points against the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence. He also posted a remarkable 9 double-doubles while also shooting 51.2% from the field and 76.9% from the free throw line. While he was at time instoppable on the court during 2018, Trist’s outstanding individual output did not however translate to team success, with the Blues only managing four wins for the season. It is an outcome that Trist expected to change in 2019.

“I’m excited to be back,” expressed Trist in discussing his re-signing with the Blues.

“Things did not go the way we wanted to last season. The Club however has a great family feel to it and takes care of its players. I enjoyed playing for the coaching staff and have complete trust in them and what we need to do moving forward [to be successful].”

The trust that Trist has in the coaching staff is mutual, with Harms keen to pair his key signing with a host of exciting new additions to the roster.

“We feel Dan will be a key factor for us at both ends of the court and his pairing with our new additions has the entire Blues faithful excited,” added Harms.  “I look forward to Dan continuing to mentor our younger group of players coming through, providing them with a great example of professionalism and competitive edge.

“We know Dan will be an instrumental part of our successes this year and we look forward getting him back in a Blues uniform as soon as possible.”

While Trist is currently focused on helping Melbourne United win a second straight NBL championship, he expected the new Victorian Elite league to prove just as good, if not better than the now defunct SEABL.

“This competition will always be the SEABL for me, and by and large it will be the same teams competing,” said Trist. “With some new Big V clubs joining, bringing those bigger, richer clubs into the league can only help. It will be the best shot at a legitimate Australian second division [behind the NBL].”

Blues Chairman Chris Beattie was excited in returning both Trist and Frankston RSL, explaining both played an important role in ensuring the success of the team in the new league.

“It’s fantastic to have such a quality and trusted community organisation such as Frankston RSL backing the Blues again this season,” shared Beattie in announcing the key signings.

“Frankston RSL have just been terrific in providing a great venue for club functions, and just like Dan Trist last season, they deliver on quality and performance each and every visit. We thank them for once again throwing their support behind the Blues and the Frankston basketball community.

While Trist will once again play an important role on the court this coming season, the support that Frankston RSL provide off it helps provide the platform from which we can work towards a successful program.”

Beattie confirmed that the annual ANZAC Day blockbuster clash with rivals Dandenong will again feature, with the remainder of the Frankston RSL Blues line-up set to be released over coming weeks.

“The big one against the Rangers is locked in,” added Beattie. “We have a number of other big announcements set to come, and I think that the Blues fans have something to get really excited about too.”

Stay tuned for further player announcements and team news over coming weeks.