March 14, 2024 | Perth Lynx news

What this current Perth Lynx team is doing to be one win from the first WNBL championship since 1992 is a great source of pride for those who have been such a big part of the club’s history.

There have been some remarkable figures to have played for the club over the journey whether it was known as the Perth (WAIS) Breakers, Perth Lynx, West Coast Waves and then back to the Lynx.

That 1992 championship winning team stands out like a beacon and with a line-up that featured Tully Bevilaqua, Michelle Timms, Robyn Maher, Liza Dagostino, Clare Hotchin, Katrine Linnsen, Lisa Maclean, Lisa Townsend and Lara Webb, it was a remarkable group under the coaching of Tom Maher.

Three more of those players, Tanya Fisher, Maryanne Briggs and Natasha Bargeus will be among those in attendance for Thursday night’s WNBL Grand Final Game 2 where the Lynx try to close the deal up against Lauren Jackson, Leilani Mitchell, Bec Cole and the Southside Flyers.

We caught up with that trio to get their thoughts on this current Lynx team that they hope to hand over the baton too as the most recent Perth WNBL championship winners.

We also got the thoughts and feelings of two of the club’s all-time greats, former captains, Basketball WA Hall of Fame members and two players with their numbers retired by the franchise, Mel Marsh and Mel Sinfield.



TANYA FISHER – 1992 championship winner, Grand Final MVP

What are your thoughts and how are you feeling about what Lynx have done to be one win from a championship?

I had some concerns when they lost Aari (knee injury) as she’s obviously a key player-maker and scorer for the team and watched anxiously as they struggled a little without her on the court, but their resurgence since her return to make the finals, take out the league miner premiers 2-0 and then put themselves in a 1-0 position playing their first game in Melbourne indicates that their form is hitting a high note at the right end of the season. They deserve to be where they are right now.

What would it mean to you to be able to see them win and end the 32-year drought?

Taking out a Grand Final is a huge accomplishment – I want this experience for them, and I would really love to see them take this out at home in this second game as well. It’s an experience that binds a team for life and so many players can have a complete career whilst never achieving this height – it’s time – bring it home.

Have you got a prediction, do you see them winning on Thursday night?

Their shot percentage on Sunday from the three-point line was phenomenal, and they literally crushed the Flyers’ spark from the start of the game. Winning this Thursday will require contingency planning, as I am certain Southside will not step onto the court without an answer to the deluge they experienced in the last game.

What did stand out for me was the energy displayed by the Lynx in offence and defence and if they bring this again and are prepared for a harder showing then they will take this series in their home court.


MARYANNE BRIGGS – 1992 championship winner, 1993 Junior World Cup championship winner

What do you think of what the Lynx have done to be in this position?

Look, I’m extremely proud because we love Perth, and we’re always the underdogs, especially with the eastern states teams, and we’ve always fought hard for however many years we’ve been in the league. Even before our championship team, I think we did a fantastic job week in and week out, but the game has certainly changed since I played, and we won it in 1992. It’s much faster and quicker scoring, but they’ve done so well to return. Their major guard was out, and Aari is just a superstar, and every team needs a great guard, so hats off to her because she’s done an amazing job. The girls rallied together and dug deep, and that’s what us Breakers/Lynx players do.

Where does that 1992 championship stand in your career achievements?

I have to say winning the world championship gold medal is No. 1 up there for me, but I have to say winning that championship in ’92 was amazing. I had just come back from the Institute and I was only 18, I was in the junior team and it was just a whole new culture with WAIS on board. Back in those days you had to work and study as well, we weren’t paid at all to play so we had to do everything plus more. It was an amazing bunch of girls with a different vision, and we all just stuck with it. I think the only games we didn’t win when two or three of us were away on national duties so the three games when the team wasn’t there are the ones we didn’t win. We had amazing players and a great bench, and it was great to see a lot of WA girls coming up the ranks. You also had players like Natasha Bargeus, who was on the junior team before me, and we were at the Institute together. It was just amazing but hard work at the same time. We just got on with it and had to find a way to fit everything in.

Are you looking forward to being there on Thursday?

My best friend is Kerryn Mitchell (Flyers assistant coach), so I will sit behind the Flyers bench. We’ve been best friends since we were 14, so I’ve always supported her. I think she’s doing an amazing job as well, but I will definitely be there on Thursday, just hoping for a great game.

How can you not admire what players like Lauren Jackson and Leilani Mitchell continue to do?

Hats off to them; anyone who can do anything after the couple of years that we’ve had with Covid and everything else is an achievement in itself to get there. I think it’s fantastic that they can still play, they bring such positivity by being out there and just getting it done. That’s what the more experienced do, they bring it, and they know what needs to be done. Hats off to Perth, they shot the lights out on Sunday and anyone who gets 23 three-pointers you know they’re definitely going to win. But they play a really good game, Perth, and they were just on song, but back in our day, there was only one game, and you had to perform in that one game. But I take my hats off to them, anyone who can do that at any age especially as you get older and everything starts to hurt a lot more, but Lauren is a fantastic player and person.

Will you still be cheering on for a Lynx victory?

I do really hope Perth end up winning. I’m a Perth girl through and through and hats off, in that first game they were just unstoppable. It’s hard to explain, but I always tell people that you need to have a presence and be ready to go, and you have to have that from the time you rock up to the stadium, and you have to be in sync with each other and know that your players have your back. You all have to know what needs to be done, and I think Perth had that in that first game. I’m hoping that they bring that Thursday and win it in two, but then again, you can’t underestimate the Flyers because they are so fantastic and the comeback queens. They’ll be a force to be reckoned with so I am expecting a close game but I’d like to think Lynx will win. I wouldn’t be surprised if we go to a third game though.

NATASHA BARGEUS – 1992 championship winner, part of historic bronze medal

What are your thoughts and how are you feeling about what Lynx have done to be one win from a championship?

I think they are playing to their strengths and have an excellent game plan, which they executed perfectly—a credit to the coaching staff and the players themselves.

 What would it mean to you to be able to see them win and end the 32-year drought?

I am extremely proud to have been a member of the 1992 championship team and being a part of the team for the years leading up to that. Every year in the league since our trailblazers, the Rockets got us into the league in 1987 years contributed to our success in 1992.

It has been a long time since this premiership, and I believe this is the team and the year that WA will win another championship.

Have you got a prediction, do you see them winning on Thursday night?

After seeing their performance in Game 1, and now playing at home in front of all West Australians, they are going to be incredibly hard to beat.

Many of us from the very beginning, the championship team of 1992 and years since, will be there to cheer them on. Winning that championship is a feeling and achievement that is still with me 32 years later, and it will always remain with them.



MEL SINFIELD (nee MCCLURE) – Former captain, Basketball WA Hall of Fame inductee

What do you think of what this Lynx team has done so far?

I think it’s an incredible achievement because they only just made the finals. The fact that they can now be playing for a championship or be one win away from it is a massive achievement for them and a credit to the coaching staff and the girls themselves. They are quite a young bunch and inexperienced as well, so for them to be able to achieve what they are doing is a real credit to the way they’ve gone about the whole season, really. They go out there and play hard, they play for each other and it’s a really pleasing aspect of Lynx basketball to be watching from the sidelines.

What do you think it will mean to you and so many others to see them win?

I think it will mean a lot to all the past players. You even get some of the players from the 1992 championship team talking about how great it’s going to be if they are able to win a championship this year. The club has gone through a lot of ups and a lot of downs, and we’ve gone through ownership changes and all sorts of things. There have been a lot of struggles since that 1992 championship team, so to see them win would bring an immense amount of pride, and I have no doubt there will be a lot of past players there who are going to be feeling proud that they were part of this club’s history when things weren’t always so great. Back in the day, we used to play for nothing, and it was just a matter of Basketball WA keeping a team on the floor just to have a pathway for women’s basketball in Western Australia. To come from those depths to now be a championship calibre team, I think, is an immensely proud moment, and one that everyone can reflect on whether they played one minute or were a starter or were a squad member for a season. It’s just nice to know that, as a club, past players have been included and will all be very proud and behind the team on Thursday night.

Can you feel a real connection with this team and the WA community?

I think being so isolated over here on the other side of the country, it always feels like it’s them versus us, and I think the WA basketball community is really growing each year, especially with the female numbers. It’s really great to see, and I think the support that the girls get each week for the games is a credit for how they go about playing. What an exciting brand Ryan has put out on the floor,. As much as I hate to admit that it’s a run-and-run game, living and dying by the three-point line and not playing a lot of defence. It’s not something I necessarily would prefer, but the whole community clearly likes the way the team plays and in that last semi-final at home, there were 210 points in a women’s game of basketball. That’s such a rare thing, and it’s an exciting brand of basketball that they put on the floor, and that’s really brought the WA community together. The fact it’s a sold out crowd and it was basically within a day shows how much support the girls have out there.

Are you expecting the Lynx to close it out and win the championship from here?

I am, but I’m also expecting a strong response from the Flyers. They have a very experienced line-up with Lauren Jackson, Leilani Mitchell, and Rebecca Cole, and you can go right down the list of who have all been there and done that, where our girls are significantly younger and less experienced so there are some all-time greats on that other team and Lauren keeps showing why she’s the GOAT. The fact that she can come back and still be producing 38 points in a semi-final game says it all. They are experienced players, so they are going to be hard to beat and will come back, giving it everything they’ve got. I think the Lynx will get up by a couple, but I would never underestimate the Flyers and how they will rebound after that loss on Sunday.


MEL MARSH – Games record holder, Basketball WA Hall of Fame inductee

How are you feeling about this Lynx team being one win from a championship?

At the moment, it’s just pure excitement, and I feel really proud. I know that there are just so many past players that went through such a difficult time, especially in those years I played, but I also have many amazing memories. I just feel there are a lot of women who are really behind this team, and they have such a good feel. I think the most pleasing thing for me is that I can see how much they are together as a team and how much they have each other’s back. They are genuinely happy for each other’s success, and looking from the outside in, I see that they are just a really happy team. For the Lynx to go and win, this would not obviously be great just to get the ring and championship, but it means so much to WA sport. I spent all of my life here, other than the one season I had at Adelaide, and I’m just so passionate about basketball in Western Australia. So, I’m just really proud and excited about Game 2.

Have you let yourself think how you would feel seeing them win?

I have had a moment where I think about what I would do if they win. I think about if I would cry, would I jump in excitement, but really, it would be just pure joy for them. I know what hard work it takes and the sacrifices you have to make. You even have Alex, who is a mum on the team, and that in itself is an incredible journey, and what she’s sacrificing to play is amazing. I think I would feel pure joy and relief after so many years. I know there are about five or six women from the 1992 championship who will be coming on Thursday, and I’ve sat courtside with Mel McClure all season, and she was my leader. She was my hero growing up along with Tully Bevilaqua, and players like that sacrificed so much. Mel moved from the east to come here, so what a sacrifice that was to leave her family, and she’s stayed ever since. I’ll be over the moon if they get the win.

Do you think they can get the job done on Thursday?

I do think they’ll win. We’re faster, fitter and have more energy. They couldn’t stop us in the full-court on Sunday; they just couldn’t do it, and I know Amy Atwell had an absolutely blinder. Some of her three-pointers were out of this world, but it wasn’t just her. It was a team effort and when somebody needed a basket, they’re not just relying on one or two players. Everyone can score, everyone is equal, and obviously, it helps to have Aari McDonald because she’s just a phenomenal all-round player. I actually predict they are going to win from 17 to 22 I reckon, that’s my prediction.