During the pre-season Coach Cheryl Chambers and the players said they were looking forward to embracing what was going to be a different WNBL season, and after a week in North Queensland, that is exactly what the Flyers have done.
We all knew it was going to be a season like no other and it certainly has been. Three games in four days and then a game postponed (due to the Coronavirus issue in South Australia) on the afternoon of the game, have made for an interesting start to WNBL20.
“After the three games in four days we had the feeling that we should be heading to the airport to travel home for a week of training to prepare for the following weekend’s game,” Cheryl said when talking about how things seemed very different.
Life in a hub, double headers, quick turnarounds and no home crowds are just part of what is making the season different. And for supporters, being able to watch every game through the new broadcast deals with Kayo, Foxtel and ABC, is also very different, but great!
“Everything is different, and it is the same for all teams, so there are no complaints or excuses, it is simply different,” Cheryl said.
Not playing in front of home crowds creates a different atmosphere at the games at Townsville Stadium.
“There has been a lot of work to create more atmosphere but there are times you can hear a pin drop which is strange in a basketball stadium. Right from junior basketball days there is always a lot of noise in a stadium.
“We are all looking forward to Thursday night’s game against Townsville as I am sure there will be a good crowd,” Cheryl said in what ironically will be a Flyers ‘home’ game.
Preparations for the games have been altered for the season, including less time at the stadium prior to playing, and double headers.
“The players know each other pretty well so the double headers are fine. This is a great community, and these games provide an opportunity for the players to stay in touch which is actually really good,” Cheryl said.
As for life in the hub Cheryl said having the opportunity to get out and enjoy some quiet time was very important and it was obviously easier than living in quarantine in Brisbane.
One thing that is consistent is the game of basketball and the Flyers have enjoyed two good wins and a disappointing loss in their first three games.
“We have seen improvement from our first game to our third game and that is to be expected as we haven’t played together much, and we certainly had very limited preparation. It is a team game, and it is a matter of getting to play together and understanding one another and no doubt we will continue to improve as the season progresses,” was Cheryl’s assessment after the Flyers opening three games.
For Cheryl and Assistant Coach Belinda Snell it has certainly been a very busy start to the season. While we see the players in action and understand they have training/recovery. For the coaches, the work starts immediately after each game with the review, and then preparations and planning for the next game.
Cheryl’s final words sum up the mood of the entire Flyers on and off court team in Queensland.
“We know it is different, but we love this game and know we are fortunate to have a season to be able to compete. Nothing has changed for us; we are excited to be here and looking forward to the challenge to go one better than last season.
“And a huge thank you to all the Flyers fans for your fantastic support, we enjoy receiving the messages of support from so many fans. While I am not a big social media person, the girls are loving all the support on social media so please keep it up.”
TONIGHT’S ROUND 2 GAMEDAY
Southside Flyers v Townsville Fire
Thursday 19 November
7:00pm (AEDT) – Live on Foxtel and Kayo