FRANKSTON FEELS LIKE HOME: SARAID TAYLOR BACK WITH THE BLUES

FRANKSTON FEELS LIKE HOME: SARAID TAYLOR BACK WITH THE BLUES

WNBL development player Saraid Taylor has committed to the Powerade Frankston Blues for the 2020 NBL1 season, bolstering a lineup that has a growing Southside Flyers look about it.

“I have so much love for playing at home at Frankston stadium,” enthused Taylor on discussing her return. “The supporters and the community are genuinely so passionate about the club. It is a real joy to play in front of that kind of support every week.

“There was nowhere else I really wanted to go. At the end of the day, it is where I want to play. I spoke to Snelly on the day she was signed [as head coach] and made it clear it was a place I wanted to come back to.

“The people here running the club are truly amazing. It sounds so cliche, but it [Frankston] now feels like home. I feel privileged to be able to play here.”

Taylor’s return will see her link up with fellow WNBL team mates Steph Reid and Keira Rowe, not to mention Flyers assistant coach Belinda Snell.

“As a development player in the WNBL, the level we get to train at is definitely worth it,” added Taylor on her experience with the Flyers this season. “We are learning so much from [head coach] Cheryl [Chambers], especially in terms of the knowledge she brings. It is just an incredible experience and opportunity, the girls all just respect her so much. She has helped create a winning culture in every way, and it is a pleasure to be part of it.”

While the Flyers are sitting pretty at the top of the WNBL standings, Taylor explained that the winning culture being fostered with Southside is something that she expected Snell would help instill in her debut season as head coach at Frankston this season.

“Snelly has a dizzying resume as it is, and as a person, she has such authenticity,” shared Taylor. “I am looking forward to continuing that coach-player relationship at NBL 1 level as well. Like Cheryl, she brings so much experience as a player that she will hopefully translate as a coach here with the Blues.

“There is a core group of us coming from the Flyers and into the NBL1 Frankston team, and this will provide a really strong foundation and hopefully translate to some immediate chemistry. We also have a very strong Big V Youth League team and a supportive Frankston basketball community that we can hopefully mesh together for not just success this season, but well into the future.”

Like many of Frankston’s senior players, Taylor has been involving in helping run school holiday clinics and nurturing the local talent coming through the junior program. She explained that the investment of time and effort into the juniors and the greater Frankston basketball community was something that was helping connect the junior and senior programs in support of one another.

“It’s a self fulfilling prophecy,” explained Taylor. “You have such a fantastic community experience at Frankston. You get to coach the little kids that come to the holiday programs, who then get to build relationships with the senior players. There is no doubting that it has a big influence on them all turning up with their families on the weekend to watch us play and why we have such great crowds – we need a bigger stadium to fit everyone in! It really is pretty special to be part of.”

In 2019, Taylor started every game and was one of just two Blues players to play all 20 games for the season. Proving to be one of the team’s most versatile players, she provided 10.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.3 steals per game, including a 19 point and 10 rebound double-double in a thrilling overtime win against Sandringham in the final game of the season. While the Blues finished eleventh last season, they were just 2 games outside of pushing for a playoff berth. It was something not lost of Taylor when considering a return to the Blues when discussing their chances in 2020.

“We are definitely looking to win,” Taylor added. “Our short term goal is to win and make finals. Within that is individual growth and of course the team’s too. I think we will have a group that will definitely challenge the other teams within the league.”

Stay tuned to Frankston Blues’ website and social media platforms for more announcements and check our Senior Blues 2020 Off-Season Announcements page.