BALLARAT’S new signing Craig Moller is expected to debut for the Miners against North West Tasmania in Ulverstone on Saturday night.
Moller has been secured as a short-term replacement for the injured Chris Smith (calf) until another recruit James Hunter arrives in Ballarat next month.
Hunter was signed in the off-season and will join the GMHBA Miners once his playing commitments in Spain are completed.
Moller, who stands 203cm, has reignited his basketball career after three seasons with the Fremantle Dockers in the AFL.
The Dockers picked him up in the 2012 rookie draft and he played his only AFL game against St Kilda in round 23 in 2013.
He returned to his home state of New South Wales after finishing up with Fremantle and tried out with NBL team Sydney Kings.
While he missed out on a spot on the roster, Moller was retained as a full-time training partner.
He was elevated late in the NBL season to replace the injured Jermie Hill, making his Kings debut in the last game.
Moller has been playing with Sutherland in the NSW Waratah Basketball League, where he is ranked in the top five with 19 points and eight rebounds a game.
Head coach Eric Hayes said with Smith going down hurt the Miners had really struggled against Sandringham.
“It put pressure on rotations and game style.”
Hayes said the Miners were confident of rectifying issues in the loss to Sandringham in their latest outing, which had it on two wins and two losses in the east conference.
He said the Miners would have to be at the top of their game to beat the in-form Tasmanian outfit.
"They've shown they're capable of putting up some pretty big scores so we'll have our work cut out for us."
In the game against the Sabres, centre Ollie Bailey played the full 40 minutes – bagging 24 points and six rebounds.
Hayes said he would look to vary the make-up of the floor in Tasmania.
"(Having Bailey play 40 minutes) is not ideal so I'll certainly do things differently with him this weekend," Hayes said.
"We've got to make it a little more of a chess match rather than the same all the way through."
Unlike previous trips to Tasmania, Ballarat will not be playing a doubleheader with assignments against Hobart and NW Tassie.
The clash with the Thunder will be the Miners’ only game.
Thunder coach Phil Thomas said with no Hobart component for Ballarat in this trip, it would make it tougher for NW Tasmania.