Flames duo’s Opals fully focussed on Olympic goal

February 1, 2024 | Sydney Flames news

Sydney Flames duo Tess Madgen and Cayla George have jetted off to Brazil this week with the Australian Opals, as the national side attempts to punch their ticket to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Flame #220 Madgen believes both she and George are perfectly prepared to take on the likes of Brazil, Germany and Serbia, after the Flames’ recent run of strong form.

“The WNBL is one of the best leagues in the world, so being able to compete in that before qualifiers is a massive advantage,” Madgen said.


“And obviously, the Flames have been firing lately so having that momentum going into this massive tournament is amazing.

“At the same time, FIBA basketball is another level and I know my role very well and always feel confident and capable to execute that.”

Donning the green and gold once again is an honour the Opals captain is not taking for granted and thoroughly looking forward to.

“It’s obviously been a tough season for me personally, so just very grateful to Dave, Sam and Michael for getting me to the point of being able to play at this tournament,” the 33-year-old guard said.

“Competing as an Opal is the highest honour and I never take it for granted.

“I love our country and our team and will always do everything in my power to get the job done.”

Being able to do this alongside long-time friend George makes it even more special for the South Australian product.

“Cayla and I are both very passionate about the Opals,” the 256-game WNBL veteran said.

“We know the responsibility we have to all the young basketballers out there wanting to be us one day as well as how important it is to uphold the legacy that has come before us.

“Being able to compete with her at every level of the game is a dream come true and something we never take for granted.

“She is always there for me through my tough times and I am always there to pick her up when she needs.

“I absolutely love playing with her but more importantly, she is a sister to me for life.”

To book their spot at the XXXIII Olympiad, which will run from July  26 to August 11 in the French capital, the green and gold must finish in the top three of their pool at the Belem-based qualifiers – a task Madgen has complete confidence they’ll achieve.

“This squad has a lot of experience but also some very exciting talent coming through,” said the 2022 FIBA World Cup bronze medalist.

“We will draw from our experience to handle the pressure.

“We also have an extremely versatile team with the majority of the team able to play multiple positions.


“I think that makes us a scouting nightmare and able to adapt to the varying styles of play we are up against.

“At the moment, we are solely focussed on us [rather the their opponents].

“Each team we play has different strengths and weaknesses and as long as we execute in offence and defence to our potential, we will be tough to beat.”

The Opals’ first game is against hosts Brazil (at 10am Friday, February 9) – with fans able to watch all games via ESPN2.

This will be followed by games against Germany (7am Sunday) and Serbia (7am Monday).