Flames sign reigning WNBL MVP Cayla George
The Sydney Flames have signalled their championship intent in WNBL24 by signing reigning league MVP Cayla George.
George, who is currently playing in the WNBA with the Las Vegas Aces, joins the Hoops Capital club on a three-year deal – with the third year being a mutual option.
“Coming to Sydney, at this stage of my career, just felt right – especially getting the chance to play alongside Tess [Madgen], who is someone I’ve known since we were 13 years of age and she makes everyone around her better on and off the court,” the 34-year-old Australia Opal said.
“We’re both extremely excited to have the chance to play elite-level basketball together again in the WNBL, in a place like Sydney that is really trying to bridge that gap between men’s and women’s basketball in this country.
“I can’t wait to play in double-headers alongside the Kings at Qudos Bank Arena and do what I can to continue to build interest and those crowds at Flames games next season.
“Mix in the high-performance training facility being built at Auburn and there’s a lot of momentum around basketball in Sydney right now and I’m excited to be a part of that shift.
“Not only that but a big part of my decision was also based on what would give me the best preparation for selection for the Paris Olympic Games next year – to ensure I’m continuing to get better every time I step on the court and continuing to grow as a leader.”
Born and raised in South Australia before joining the Australian Institute of Sport in 2005, George’s distinguished career includes stints with Adelaide, Townsville and Melbourne in the WNBL, as well as Phoenix and Dallas in the WNBA and numerous others in Europe.
During that time, George has won the WNBL championship on four occasions (2015, 2016, 2018 and 2022) and been voted onto All-WNBL teams on five occasions (three First-Team and two Second-Team).
At an international level, George has helped the Australian Opals win one silver (2018 in Spain) and two bronze (2014 in Turkey and 2022 in Australia) World Cup medals, a Commonwealth Games gold medal (2018 in Australia) and a FIBA Asia Cup bronze medal (2019 in India).
With this resume and by joining an exciting squad that already features Nicholson, Madgen, Emma Clarke and Kiera Rowe, George is confident the harbour city side can claim their first championship since 2017.
“My aim when I get to Sydney is to be the best version of myself while helping to make my teammates better and instilling a strong culture of self-confidence and accountability in our group,” said George, who averaged 18.5 points, 11.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists during WNBL23.
“These are trademarks of successful teams and I’m confident these intangible qualities will allow us to achieve great things on and off the court.
“Especially when you consider how amazing it’ll be to have such a strong Australian core in our group.”
Flames president Victoria Denholm is ecstatic to add someone with George’s pedigree to her squad, just days into the start of the WNBL24 free agency.
“The league’s reigning MVP is coming to Sydney – Flames fans are in for an absolute treat,” Denholm said.
“Cayla is coming off the best WNBL season of her career and is currently playing on WNBA powerhouse Las Vegas Aces – for her to jump straight into our pre-season after playing alongside some of the best players in the world, she will be at the top of her game.
“We believe we are putting together a championship-contending roster and Cayla is a key piece to this.
“It’s incredible that we’ve been able to land Cayla here in Sydney and we look forward to welcoming her and her family, including her beautiful daughter Pearl into the Flames family.”
Stay up to date with all the club’s off-season news here.