South East Melbourne Phoenix forward Dan Trist is returning to the Frankston RSL Blues in 2020, committing to a further 1 year deal as he takes aim at an NBL1 championship.

Trist has inked a new one year deal with the Blues, explaining that the contract now aligns with his Phoenix NBL contract.

“I’m excited to be coming back to Frankston,” enthused Trist in discussing his contract extension. “Frankston is now my home, and my new contract now aligns with my South East Melbourne one. I don’t really want to leave Melbourne.”

The 6’9 forward played 10 games for the Blues last season, providing 14.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. He was one of six Blues players to average double-digit points in his second season with Frankston, with his return ensuring the nucleus of head coach Andrew Harms’ 2019 roster is set to return to Bardia Avenue next year.

Currently playing a support role in coming off the bench for the Phoenix, South East Melbourne have risen to fifth place in the NBL standings and on the cusp of a finals berth in their inaugural season. While Trist bides his time for a larger role, he views the opportunity to play with Frankston in NBL1 as an important part in developing his game.

“I am helping out whenever I can,” Trist explained on his role with the Phoenix. “It’s a fun role, and I make sure I do my best to make the most of every opportunity. Learning from guys like Mitch [Creek] is exactly what I need, and hopefully combined with hard work, will lead to a bigger role in future.”

Rejoining Trist in 2020 are captain Igor Hadziomerovic and import forward Najeal Young who have both re-signed for 3 years, while Lachlan Barker (2 years) and Alistair Macdonald (1 year) are also returning in an encouraging sign of solidarity for Frankston basketball. Trist would go on to explain that consistency and chemistry would play a large role in determining the successful NBL1 teams in 2020.

“You look at SEABL and NBL1 over the last decade, and the teams that do well are the ones that are stable. In terms of playing personnel, we only returned a handful of players last season, but this season we are returning the core group of the team. Alistair [Macdonald], Iggy [Igor Hadziomerovic], Lachy [Barker], Najeal [Young], Mossy [Jarryd Moss] and some of the young guys, are all back. We are following a recipe for success.

Trist was also buoyed by the level of improvement shown by some of the younger guys throughout 2019, especially Will Pierce who proved to be a revelation for the Blues in coming off the bench.

“Obviously we have our young, local guys too. Will [Pierce] found some fantastic form and confidence. Just two years ago he walked into Frankston and started practicing with us. He came along and worked hard, and now he is reaping the rewards by providing good minutes off the bench. He made a big jump this year, and could play a bigger role next season.”

The loss to Bendigo in the preliminary final last season still hurts. While the Blues are re-loading for the 2020 NBL1 championship, Trist was under no illusion that the competition was set to be fiercer than ever next season.

“We have a lot of returning players that experienced that game against Bendigo, and we had a very good squad” said Trist. “The fact is, we turned in a piss-poor performance against Bendigo. We had a great win against Nunawading, but against Bendigo perhaps we were complacent after the week off, but they were very good too.

“Next season is going to be tough. Nunawading and Bendigo are looking strong again in returning most of their rosters, Geelong look like they are assembling a strong squad too, and with Mount Gambier back in the fold, there are some very talented teams.

“Our focus is definitely on winning the championship, but there are also a lot of other very good teams that all have the same goal.”

Stay tuned to Frankston Blues’ website and social media platforms for more announcements.