Fire aware of Ranger Danger

January 3, 2019 | Townsville Fire news

Acting JCU Townsville Fire captain Micaela Cocks believes the reigning champions must lock down on Dandenong’s one-two punch to keep their title defence alive.

With Cocks scheduled to become just the second Fire player to chalk up 200 games for the club on Friday night, the three-time championship winner, who has made seven consecutive play-off appearances since debuting in 2011/12, is well aware of the damage Bec Cole and Betnijah Laney can inflict if left unchecked.

The pair combined for 34 points during the Rangers’ round one victory in Townsville and Cole is enjoying a career-best season.

Having suffered Grand Final defeat while playing for Melbourne last year, the shooting guard’s move to Stud Road has been met with a significant uplift in her statistics, with Cole averaging 18.2 points – up from 8.5 last season – to sit fifth in the league for scoring.

Laney’s move from Bendigo to Dandenong has also proved promising, with the American previously tasting Grand Final defeat at the hands of the Fire whilst representing Perth in 2015/16.

“They’ve got some key players in Laney and Bec Cole, it’s about making it hard for them and doing a defensive job on them like we did with Nat Hurst (against Bendigo),” Cocks said.

“(It’s about) not letting Bec Cole get on her right hand and get to the rim. They’ve got a lot of good players but they (Cole and Laney) are taking a lot of their shots.

“If we make finals that would be eight years in a row and if we didn’t, it would be my first time not making finals. It would sting a bit.”

While Fire skipper Suzy Batkovic is again expected to miss with a neck injury, the six-time league MVP will be out in force with Queensland Country Health Fund poised to recognise the superstar.

QCHF has organised for #SoLongSuzy face masks to be handed out to all patrons, with Townsville Stadium expected to turn into a sea of Batkovics.

Tip-off between the Fire and the Ranger is at 7pm on Friday night.

Click here to pre-purchase tickets to the Fire and the Rangers.