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Brisbane 2018/19 season preview
WIll the Bandits claim a fourth-straight title?
11/08/2018 8:45 PM ET

The Brisbane juggernaut will look to roll on in 2018/19 as it chases a historic fourth-straight title.

Standing in the Bandits' way is seven other teams not prepared to see 'Brisbane' be etched onto the Claxton Shield again.

But Brisbane's front-office - leaders across the past few seasons - have done it again.

They have assembled arguably the best roster in the ABL this season.

Even better for the Bandits is that they have as much returning talent as any team in the league.

Last season's home run leaders - TJ Bennett and Donald Lutz - are back while left-handed starter Ryan Bollinger returns.

They have lost former League MVP Aaron Whitefield but gained closer Loek van Mil.

Infielder Hsu Chi-hung joins from the CPBL and Daniel De la Calle has been added as a catching option.


The Vitals

Last season: 28-11 (first, defeated Canberra in ABLCS)

Manager: David Nilsson


Three up, three down

1. Home at Holloway

The Bandits are a formidable outfit at any time but at One Hub Stadium powered by Optus they are next to unbeatable.

Brisbane was 19-4 at their home ballpark - including a make-up 'road' contest against Melbourne and three playoff games - last season.

The Bandits outscored opposition teams 194-122 in 23 games at home and blasted 64 of their ABL record 96 regular-season homers at the ballpark.


2. Balancing act

Loek van Mil joins the Bandits from Adelaide this season.

Across three campaigns with the Bite the 216cm closer picked up 19 saves.

But Brisbane has Ryan Searle, the modern-day ABL saves record holder.

Nilsson may opt to use Searle in the starting rotation but the Bandits still have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to their pitchers.

It is a pretty good problem for a manager to have.


3. The Brothers connection

Infielder Hsu Chi-hung joins Brisbane from the CPBL's CTBC Brothers.

The 26-year-old was named CPBL Rookie of the Year in 2015.

In 2018 he hit .191 in just 23 appearances.

Will he be able to provide the same level of offence as Lin Chih-sheng produced for the Bandits a year ago though?

Lin averaged .310 and led Brisbane with 42 regular-season RBIs.


The case for

They have next to no holes.

From top of the batting order through to the bottom, from their game one starter to their last bullpen option, the Bandits have immense talent.

They play One Hub Stadium powered by Optus to perfection and know how to win games, no matter the position they find themselves in.

Brisbane's talent, polish and never-say-die attitude will help them loft the Claxton Shield in the air come February again in a best-case scenario.


The case against

It is hard to mount a case against the Bandits.

But, like two seasons ago, we think Brisbane might not be top at the end of the regular season.

That's not to say they won't win the Claxton Shield.

The Bandits' rivals have upgraded their rosters in a bid to bring Brisbane's reign to an end.

And while Brisbane still have one of the strongest rosters on paper, games of baseball aren't won on paper.

The Bandits biggest hurdles - aside from seven hungry teams chasing them - are injuries and complacency.

Will they avoid both?


Home opener

vs Adelaide at One Hub Stadium powered by Optus, November 15 at 6.00pm local time. Get your tickets here!


This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.