Fire happy to carry underdog tag

October 4, 2017 | Townsville Fire news

JCU Townsville Fire coach Claudia Brassard is happy to wear the underdog tag ahead of this week’s opening round blockbuster against the Melbourne Boomers.

With the WNBL returning to TV, Fox Sports have wasted little time pitting the competition’s two biggest names against each other – Suzy Batkovic and Liz Cambage – with the Opals teammates poised to go head-to-head on Saturday afternoon.

Cambage’s return to the league has seen the Boomers installed as $4 championship favourites with the bookies, with the Fire on the second line of betting at $4.50.

As a result, many pundits believe the Boomers, who have not played finals since 2013/14, are the team to beat.

“They’re a totally different team and they’re probably the favourites going in to the competition just by who they’ve signed,” Brassard said.

“Everyone’s expecting big things from them so I would expect them to be popping the ball inside to Lizzy and opening up shots for Jenna O’Hea on the outside.

“We haven’t seen Jenna in the league for a few years so it’ll be interesting to see how they go.

“I think they’ve had about five preseason games so certainly a lot of warm-up matches to get them ready.”

While the Boomers recruiting has set tongues wagging, the Fire have also made a number of high-profile signings including the return of Rio Olympian and dual championship winner Cayla George.

The Opals power forward has wasted little time reconnecting with Batkovic, with the pair looking ultra-impressive during the Fire’s recent pre-season win over the Townsville Heat Academy.

The Fire and the Boomers tip-off at 2pm (QLD time) on Saturday with the match broadcast on Fox Sports.

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