Both teams have impressed in the 2020 Chemist Warehouse WNBL season holding 4-1 records, it’s a Grand Final rematch and all signs are pointing to a contest to savour between the UC Capitals and Jayco Southside Flyers in Cairns on Monday night.
The two teams delivered one of the all-time great WNBL Grand Final series going back to last season and while the Capitals won in two games to make it back-to-back championships, it was only by a combined five points.
The Capitals are looking to win a three-peat for the first time in their rich history that so far includes nine championships, while it left a burning desire for redemption with those at the Flyers returning.
Obviously there are some changes to both teams from then to now, but what isn’t different is that both are cementing themselves as championship threats.
The Capitals are warming to their three-peat quest nicely having won four from five games including a five-point win over the Brydens Sydney Uni Flames two days ago. Then you have the Flyers who have added Liz Cambage to their impressive core group from last season.
They also hold a 4-1 record on the back of a thumping 117-71 win over the Perth Lynx on Saturday which was all the more impressive considering they trailed by 10 early and still posted the season’s high-score with Cambage kicking up her heels for the second half.
While nothing ever quite makes up for losing a Grand Final, when you are on the wrong end there’s always that extra incentive to beat that team especially the first time you take them on, and Flyers’ Bec Cole isn’t hiding from those feelings.
From before the WNBL season got underway in Queensland, Cole made it clear this was all about redemption for Southside as they look to win the championship and getting a measure of revenge over the Capitals is a big step in that.
“We are just taking it day by day and that’s what you really have to do this season, and we will focus on our recovery,” Cole said.
“But then we’ll turn our attention to the scout and there’s definitely a rivalry there between Canberra and ourselves. I want redemption 110 per cent so we are going to come out hard, but we know they are a great team with great players. We have to make sure that we are ready to go.”
As championship winners from last season, there’s not quite that same natural burning desire to get anything back on the Grand Final opponents for the Capitals. It would be a significant statement of their championship credentials should they come away victorious though.
Keely Froling is fresh off a 15-point, 10-rebound game in Saturday’s win over the Flames, and while playing the Flyers is significant, the Capitals continue to focus on is growing especially with Kelsey Griffin and Tahlia Tupaea now back and healthy.
“Obviously we missed them the first couple of games but they are working their way back in,” Froling said.
“We are really coming together now and it was so hard for our pre-season that we didn’t have everyone in so we hadn’t played together. But we are starting to roll now and I love playing with Kels (Kelsey Griffin). I’ve played with her for three years and I’m starting to love playing with T (Tahlia Tupaea) as well.
“We are really lucky to still have that core group together from last year so we do know how it works and it’s about adding those few other new pieces as well.”
Chris Pike is a freelance contributor to WNBL.com.au
Jayco Southside Flyers vs UC Capitals
Played at Cairns Pop-up Arena
Monday 23 November 2020
5.05pm AEST / 6.05pm AEDT
LIVE on Kayo