A big, warm welcome back to Steph Talbot

January 31, 2024 | WNBL news

Written by Darren Barker, Features Writer


What’s the one thing that most ex-players say they miss the most about the game once they retire?


It’s the camaraderie of the locker room. The close relationships with their teammates they build along the way, the people you grind with, day in and day out.


That is what I got reminded of when I saw Steph Talbot return from an ACL injury for the Adelaide Lightning over the weekend.


The absolute joy and warmth from the team that the post-game video and images showed was something really quite special.


A comeback story is always going to be significant, but it hits extra hard when it’s the leader of the team, a loved locker-room figure.


This was obvious as Adelaide head coach Nat Hurst rocked up to the post-game press conference in a custom ‘TALBOT’ tee. I’m not sure how many times we have seen that in any basketball league across the world but I’m here for it.


“I feel like that’s probably why the energy was super high in the change room.”


Hurst continued to give high praise of Talbot in the post-game media.


“Steph’s huge for this club in general. She’s the face of the club, she has been for a while now and she’ll continue to be until she wants to not play anymore.”


The name Steph Talbot is a big one in this sport.


She’s been doing this for a long time and has been at the highest level for a long time. The WNBL MVP in 2020, a big role on the Opals, most recently signing with the LA Sparks in the WNBA – she’s done a bit of everything. Despite all of this, it doesn’t mean she wasn’t anxious to play in her first game of her 11th WNBL season.


“I was so nervous during the week, knowing it was my first game back.”


It’s an oddly satisfying thing hearing veterans talk about being nervous before games, it just shows that the love of the game is still present, the excitement is still there. That’s a great thing.


With a record of 6-13 it’s been a rough season for the Lightning but the future is looking brighter. Combine a young star on the rise such as Izzy Borlase and pair her with a healthy Steph Talbot for years to come, it’s a duo that not only fans are excited about but Nat Hurst too. Speaking with a pep in her step as she thought about the idea of both players stepping on the floor together.


“Very exciting times here for the Lightning.”


We’re all fans at the end of the day, right?



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