Nat Hurst braces for Canberra homecoming

She will forever be one of Canberra's greatest, but Nat Hurst isn't one to get sentimental.

Hurst and Abbey Wehrung will return to Canberra with a point to prove when they line up for the Bendigo Spirit against the Capitals at the National Convention Centre on Sunday.

Former Canberra Capitals captain Nat Hurst.Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

There is history on both sides of the court – Capitals stars Kelsey Griffin and Kelly Wilson both had glistening careers in Bendigo, but it is arguably Hurst that left the greatest legacy at her former club.

The former Capitals skipper is the only player to have played in all seven of Canberra's championship wins – the first of which came in 1999-2000 – and left the club as its reigning most valuable player.

But the prospect of a return home to the club she helped build didn't sink in until late on Saturday night after the Spirit arrived in Canberra via a road trip to Perth.

"I hadn’t really thought about it, we were so focused on Perth that it hadn’t really crossed my mind that I would be coming back to Canberra," Hurst said.

"It will hit me when we land there, but it is what it is, it’s just a game. I’ll be happy to play in front of a home crowd but obviously wanting the other team to win.

"Hopefully it’s a good match-up between both teams, but there’s nothing I have individually taken on. It’s my team versus their team.

"We’re a collective unit [at Bendigo], we don’t know who is going to go off on the night, we don’t really pinpoint certain match-ups, we just roll with who is rolling on the night."

Hurst's homecoming will be made even more special when she receives her Basketball ACT life membership before taking to the court for the Spirit.

Abbey Wehrung is set to return to Canberra in different colours.Credit:Jamila Toderas

It's an award she never saw coming, but one that serves as a reminder of just how much she did for basketball since she ran amok as a Norths junior.

"It’s something I didn’t actually expect so when they called and told me I was getting it, it was a nice surprise. It’s nice to be recognised for what I was able to do for Basketball ACT through all my junior years," Hurst said.

"That’s where we grew up, my dad was obviously involved in that, mum was involved in that, and my sister a long time ago as well. It’s not just a good recognition for me, but for my family as well."

Hurst concedes Bendigo have hit a roadblock in recent weeks but she remains confident they can do some damage against the highly-fancied Capitals who will welcome back superstar centre Marianna Tolo.

After all, "if people looked at what we’d probably do before the season to what we’ve done now, I don’t think many people would see us at 6-7 and a chance to push for top four".

Wehrung left Canberra to be closer to home in Victoria and the 22-year-old is relishing a return to the club with whom she spent the past four years.

"I’m really enjoying it [in Bendigo] and it’s closer to home which is nice," Wehrung said.

"I’m excited, it’ll be good to see a lot of the girls. I keep in touch with pretty much everyone from last year, and I obviously played with Loz [Lauren Scherf] and Maddy [Rocci] for SEABL. I’m really excited."


Sunday: Canberra Capitals v Bendigo Spirit at National Convention Centre, 2pm.

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