Fire looking for finals redemption

January 2, 2018 | Townsville Fire news

The JCU Townsville Fire will seek finals redemption on Thursday as they ramp up their bid for a third WNBL title in four seasons.

Having been unceremoniously dumped from last year’s play-offs at the hands of the Sydney Uni Flames, the Fire can extract the ultimate revenge when they face the defending champions in the semi-finals by consigning them to the same fate.

In order to do so, the Fire will need to produce an improved performance from Friday’s disappointing loss, with head coach Claudia Brassard identifying the defensive end as where the improvement must come from.

“It’s a semi-final and it doesn’t get a much bigger game on our home floor so we’re hopeful for a better start. It’s all about how we come out and making sure we can defend them,” Brassard said.

“We don’t want to allow 107 like we did the last time we played them. Ideally if we can keep them under 80 then I think we can come out on top.

“Any one of their starting five can get 20 or 30 on the night. They’re really good players and most of them are national team or WNBA players so I think it’s going to have to be a team effort there.”

Having contested four straight Grand Finals including back-to-back championships, the Fire saw their streak come to a grinding halt at the hands of the Flames.

Over the off-season they re-tooled, however, adding two-time championship winner Cayla George and Americans Laurin Mincy and Sydney Wiese to their line-up.

“We’re not as reliant on Suzy (Batkovic) and Mia (Murray) to get all the points for us and we share the ball a lot better than we did last year,” Brassard said.

“Certainly those players will remember that (loss). There was just a lack of urgency and Sydney couldn’t miss and they got on a roll and there was nothing we could do right.

“We don’t want to repeat that, but we’re playing here in front of our home crowd and it’s a really good crowd and that gets us going as well.”

The Fire host the Flames in game one of the WNBL semi-finals at Townsville Stadium from 7pm on Thursday night.

Click here to pre-purchase tickets from 1pm on Wednesday.