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WNBL to start season with optimism

Australia's longest established women's national sporting club competition, basketball's WNBL, has several reasons to be cheerful heading into a new season later this week.

In recent years the WNBL has been overshadowed by newer competitions including the WBBL, Super Netball and the AFLW.

It's survived the past couple of seasons without free-to-air television exposure and a naming rights sponsor.

But with SBS and Chemist Warehouse ticking those respective boxes and the world championship silver medal success of the Opals, there's renewed optimism as the competition enters its 39th season.

"It's nice to talk about positive things that have been happening for the game rather than when I first started in the role a couple of years ago there was a lot of negativity around," head of WNBL Sally Phillips told AAP on Monday.

"There is an enormous amount of excitement about the upcoming season and we're really happy that the league is taking some positive steps forward."

While Opals star Liz Cambage isn't returning to the WNBL, nine of her 11 silver-medal winning teammates will suit up.

"All our Opals now are saying 'we want to go back and play in Australia and play in the WNBL.' It's a globally elite competition we're really proud of," Phillips said.

"WNBA talent is now coming out and playing in the league as well, so we're on the map for sure.

"I think it's definitely a destination league for a lot of players around the world now."

World championship silver medallist Alex Bunton has returned from playing overseas and joined Sydney.

"The league here is amazing and it (the season) is not as long anymore," Bunton told AAP.

"With the wellbeing of myself and my knee, I thought it better to be at home."

She will have just a couple of sessions with her new team before they host the first game of the season against Canberra on Friday.

Reigning premiers Townsville, Canberra, Perth and Melbourne look to be among the frontline contenders.