Fire and Lynx to clash in Burdekin Blitz

August 24, 2017 | Townsville Fire news

The JCU Townsville Fire and Perth Lynx will clash in the Wilmar Sugar Burdekin Blitz ahead of the 2017/18 WNBL campaign.

Earlier today, the Fire confirmed they would host the Lynx, who they famously met in the 2015/16 WNBL Grand Final series, in two pre-season fixtures on September 22 and 23 at the Den.

Elite level basketball has not been played in the Burdekin since 2015 when the Townsville Crocodiles hosted the Illawarra Hawks ahead of their final NBL campaign.

Having successfully hosted the Sydney Uni Flames in Mackay last year, the Fire will hold their second ‘Community Camp’ in North Queensland with the weekend to include joint activities between the two teams including junior basketball clinics on September 23.

Fire coach Claudia Brassard said with the condensed nature of this year’s WNBL fixture, the Burdekin Blitz would prove the ideal avenue for her troops to get match-hardened ahead of the season proper.

“We’re delighted to be holding a Community Camp in the Burdekin and facing a quality opponent in the form of Perth,” Brassard said.

“The Burdekin loves their basketball and they’re in for a treat with the likes of Suzy Batkovic and Sami Whitcomb, who finished first and second in last year’s MVP, on the floor.

“With the nature of this year’s fixture, no team can afford a slow start so it will be important to get a baseline of where we are at ahead of round one and to use the games to make some adjustments before meeting the Boomers to tip-off the season.”

The Fire and the Lynx’s rivalry in recent years has gone up a level after the pair clashed in the 2015/16 championship series.

With Kayla Standish and Olivia Thompson now lining up for Perth, it will be a homecoming of sorts for the former Fire forwards who will go head-to-head with the likes of Rio Olympian Cayla George and Emerging Opals co-captain Darcee Garbin.

“It’s very important to get a couple of games under our belt, especially against an opposition that won’t know everything that we’re running,” Lynx coach Andy Stewart said.

“We can train day-to-day, but we’re training against ourselves and that becomes quite difficult to get real information from.

“Even though it’s pre-season, both teams are going to want to get plenty out of the games.

“It’s great for Burdekin, it’s great for their local community, but it’s also great for us. We get to spend some time together, to bond as a group. It’s always fun to work in that sort of a community.”

The games will tip-off from 7pm on September 22 and September 23. Tickets are available by contacting the Burdekin Basketball Association.