Coach Derrick Washington will return to Launceston next month ready to rebuild a starting five that will be without its top four stars.
The Tornadoes confirmed on Friday that both Lauren Nicholson and Ally Wilson will not return to Launceston for the club’s new campaign in the elite Victorian league.
This blow to the Tornadoes comes after the departures of Lauren Mansfield and Ellie Collins earlier this month.
But the club has hastened the series of shock moves, announcing that it has now signed up New Zealand Tall Ferns regular Stella Beck.
The Townsville Fire utility will join American Stephanie Gardner as the club’s two key contracted recruits this year.
Tornadoes general manager Corey Ackerly remained optimistic about the club’s future in a new competition.
“While it is disappointing to lose these great players this year, we feel privileged they have been a part of the Launceston Tornadoes for a number of years,” he said.
“We pride ourselves on the fact that the club wants to develop players and see them go on to bigger things.
“To have three Tornadoes players [Mansfield, Wilson and Nicholson] selected as part of the 2019 Opals squad is a great achievement.”
He said the club was not in a position to secure long-term deals to keep all players.
Mansfield has decided to stay in Perth after the WNBL season to get her body right for a tilt at the 2019 Asia Cup and 2020 Olympics.
Nicholson plans to seek a contract at a European club for the first time.
Wilson will join ex-SEABL club Frankston Blues to be near her basketball-playing partner in Melbourne.
Collins will also face the Torns, returning to Hobart to play for the new Huskies side.