Heal’s Flames ready to ignite campaign
After more than six weeks on the training court and a handful of practice games, the Sydney Flames will finally tip-off their WNBL23 season on Saturday.
Awaiting Shane Heal’s side, who had a bye in week one, are the 2-0 Bendigo Spirit at the Bendigo Basketball Stadium.
“Bendigo is a really good team, who already have two strong wins under their belts in round one, so we know it’s going to be an exciting challenge for us,” said coach Heal, who’s been really pleased with the club’s pre-season as a whole.
“A big part of what they do well and what we’ll have to slow down is Kelsey Griffin, an amazing player who has excelled in this league for a long time.
“Combine her with Kelly Wilson, who runs the team exceptionally well, and a couple of their other pieces and it’s going to be critical we’re on our game come Saturday.”
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This clash marks the first of four straight for the Hoops Capital side on the road, so Heal knows how important a win would be for the young side’s confidence.
“We’re going to Bendigo expecting to win this game,” said the second-year Flames mentor, who is confident his side will be the fittest team in the competition in WNBL23, while also hanging their hats on the defensive end of the court.
“They’re going to have plenty of confidence but so are we, after some really big trial victories and weeks on the training court.
“Although we might be a little down on troops, it presents an opportunity for others to step up because I have full faith in the depth we have in our squad – every one of our players was recruited here for a reason and fits the style of play we want to produce week in, week out.
“The culture and comradery in our group are amazing and a win on Saturday would only boost that.”
Saturday’s fixture, which tips off at 7pm AEDT, will be broadcast on 9Now.