A Record Night at John Cain Arena

February 6, 2023 | Southside Flyers news

Sport – it can be wonderful and exciting, and it can also be shattering, and disappointing. On Saturday night at John Cain Arena the Flyers experienced it all, the real highs and lows of sport, all in one night.

A record WNBL crowd of 7,681 to see the Flyers and Lauren Jackson was certainly the wonderful and such an important night, not just for women’s basketball, but for women’s sport.

The noise and atmosphere generated by the record crowd, and the close contest was exciting. Add the video highlights from Lauren’s incredible career and the messages of support from world famous athletes and the excitement was spine tingling.

Just over one minute into the game and an injured Lauren Jackson hobbling to the bench was a shattering moment for everyone.

The game was certainly exciting, but all Flyers supporters were left disappointed with the one-point loss after a buzzer beater failed to drop.

After the initial shock of realizing the GOAT would take no further part in the game, the record crowd focused on the exciting contest between the Flyers and the Flames and generated noise rarely heard in any sport contest at the venue. An atmosphere that unfortunately Lauren was able to appreciate more than she would if out on the court.

“I obviously had a lot of time to take in the atmosphere and the crowd was just incredible. That was so awesome to see that at a WNBL game, just to suit up was one of the greatest privileges,” Jackson said.

“What a magnificent thing for women’s basketball in this country. It’s a domestic league, it’s the premier national league but to have that kind of support in Melbourne was just incredible.

“Hopefully it’s just the start of many games like this. It was great to be able to prove that it can be done and I’m pretty sure every single person in that stadium enjoyed that game.”

While not able to participate in the rest of the game, Jackson still fulfilled her duties on the night, completing the post-game presentation and interviews on court, thanks to crutches borrowed from her Mum, who has recently had a knee operation, and then attending a media conference, this time in a wheelchair, and a team presentation.

The tribute messages played at the end of the game, prior to the on-court presentation by Flyers owner Gerry Ryan, reminded everyone of Lauren’s status in basketball and in sport. Messages from Josh Giddey, Luc Longley, Sandy Brodello and Michele Timms representing the basketball community, while a tribute message from one of Australia’s greatest athletes, three-time Olympic silver medalist, Raelene Boyle highlighted Lauren’s status in world sport:

“Lauren what a great example you have been to all the youth in this country that play any sport… We are all so proud of you. Your humility is everlasting, and I hope a lot of the athletes of the world follow your example.”

7,681 people were part of history at John Cain Arena on Saturday February 6, 20223. And while the result of the game was a disappointment for nearly everyone in attendance, as Gerry Ryan said after the game:

“It was great for women’s basketball and women’s sport. I am so proud. It was not our best night, for Lauren or the team, but there is still the rest of the season to go.”

The Flyers play Bendigo in Geelong on Saturday night, February 11 and then finish the season with three home games at the State Basketball Centre.

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