Launceston Tornadoes have copped a massive blow in their attempts to retain the grand final playing roster ahead of a new competition.
Talented forward Ellie Collins will depart the club after three seasons, the call to return home to Hobart too great for the 20-year-old.
Collins will join Hobart Huskies in the elite league ran by Basketball Victoria to replace the defunct Hobart Chargers and the SEABL.
She moved to Launceston at the start of 2016 to undergo an education degree at UTAS Newnham, but will complete her final year in Hobart.
But Tornadoes general manager Corey Ackerly said the club tried hard to retain the versatile 183cm player for a further season amid the transition between leagues.
“We were hoping to re-sign her again, but she decided to go back home,” he said.
“We were still hopeful of late; it’s always been in the back of her mind, I think.”
Ackerly expects the first domino to fall could now be the catalyst towards a “new-look team” this year.
“We have already got a few players we’re talking to right now,” he said.
“Not so much as a replacement for Ellie because she was signed as a local player.
“But we’re talking to some imports or contracted players, so hopefully we can make a first announcement soon.”
Ackerly confirmed the club has not re-signed contracted trio Lauren Mansfield, Ally Wilson or Lauren Nicholson. Collins had joined Mansfield over the summer as a first-year rookie at Perth Lynx.
Coming off the bench, she averages just 1.67 points per game in 12 appearances.
Tornadoes chair Janie Finlay was the first to wish Collins all the best on the Huskies Facebook page: “Love your game Ellie Collins. Congrats on your signing – enjoy the south with your family and good luck at Uni.”