It takes a village! The Canberra Capitals first win felt extra special

December 20, 2023 | WNBL news

Written by Darren Barker, Features Writer

It takes a village! The Canberra Capitals first win felt extra special

The Canberra Capitals’ first win of the season felt extra special. No not because Jade Melbourne lost a tooth during it but because this team feels like a really tight-knit group and it showed.

A feel good win

No team wants to start any season off with 8 losses in a row, so when that monkey gets off your back and you pick up your first win, it’s obviously going to feel good. But this felt extra special for the Canberra Capitals.

“It’s one of the best wins I’ve been a part of.” – Jade Melbourne

Maybe it’s their underdog status, maybe they are just a likeable team or maybe it’s all of the above and more.

The scenes after the final buzzer told you everything you needed to know about what it meant to the group.

So much joy and excitement from everyone involved.

It was really cool to see and let’s say this as well, this wasn’t just any win, it was a win against one of the best in the competition in the Melbourne Boomers.

Melbourne had lost just 1 game before this. Canberra’s 84-72 win handed them their second loss of the season.

Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images


The core of the Capitals

At the head of the helm is head coach Kristen Veal but when you think of the Canberra Capitals you most likely think of one name, Jade Melbourne.

While she looked a bit less recognisable after the match it was the same Jade Melbourne that starred throughout this one. Jade lost a tooth during the contest which made for some amusing post-match photo’s and reactions. I thoroughly enjoyed watching how she got through the post-game press conference as well.

“I’ll lose a tooth again if it means we get a win.” – Jade Melbourne

That explains Melbourne’s mindset pretty perfectly, she’ll do whatever it takes to get the win. The aggression and fearless behaviour is obvious once you tune into any game of hers. It just goes to show that sometimes these injuries and situations will happen if you play that hard.

“The way Jade plays is brutal on her” – Kristen Veal

While losing teeth is I guess impressive in some way, Kristen Veal is most impressed with Jade’s maturity as a 21 year old.

“I think the thing that everyone’s starting to see this year is not just the games and the consistency, but is the maturity of her as a person, a leader and a player.”

“That maturity is well beyond her years and I think that’s the thing that I’m most proud of.”

Letting that thing fly

Besides maturity there’s another aspect of her game that has stuck out to me this season and that is her 3 point confidence. Not even the percentage she’s making or anything like that, it’s the confidence she is taking them with.

Transition 3’s, not a problem, step back 3’s, not a problem. It’s like Jade understands the way the game is trending and the way her game can evolve, and has no issue with developing her game in that sense. It’s working a treat.

Melbourne finished with 30 points (8-17 FG), 5 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 steals, 1 block and 4-10 3PT.

Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images


It’s 100% a team effort

The above stat line speaks for itself but as impressive as it was, it was 100% a team effort from the Capitals and both Jade Melbourne and Kristen Veal made sure to circle back to that fact in the press conference.

Particularly Veal who once the media had finished their questions, she jumped in and made a point to go up and down the roster to mention the effort by all players.

“It takes a village and our little village in there made an amazing effort and got the reward for it tonight.”

The appreciation for the roster was something that Melbourne had a heap of as well. You got the sense that they are a really tight group over there in Canberra who are friends off the court just as much as on.

“The connection within the playing group is something that I’ve never really been a part of. Everyone has each other’s back. You can text anyone before midnight and they’re going to reply. The door’s always open… it’s really special to be a part of.” – Jade Melbourne

It’s great to get insight into a teams culture like this.

Circling back to my comment earlier about the Capitals being a likeable team, this is why. It shows on the court, it shows on social media and it shows in press conferences. That’s why you can’t help but to root for the Caps.

“I feel so lucky and so fortunate to be a part of this group.” – Jade Melbourne

Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images


Written by Darren Barker



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