Fire poised for pre-season clash

October 2, 2018 | Townsville Fire news

The JCU Townsville Fire will fine-tune their preparations for the 2018/19 Chemist Warehouse WNBL season on Sunday with a practice match at Star FM Stadium.

With the WNBL season less than a fortnight away, the pre-season fixture against the Under-23 Townsville Heat will give Claudia Brassard her first chance to roll out her entire squad, with World Cup silver medallist Tess Madgen poised to suit up for the game.

Fire fans will also get their first look at new recruits Casey Samuels and Ally Malott, with New Zealand international Stella Beck a 50-50 proposition to take part.

Having narrowly lost their earlier scrimmage to the Heat behind-closed-doors, the Fire will be hoping to hit the floor running ahead of hosting Dandenong at Townsville Stadium on October 14.

“Hopefully this weekend we get a good hit-out and we’re ready to go by round one,” Brassard said.

“Tess comes back in on Wednesday, so we purposely made this game a little bit later so she could suit up and have a game with us as a team.

“Obviously she’s a big part of this team, so we want to make sure we slot her in as quickly as we can.”

Having won back-to-back MVPs with Bendigo before doing likewise for Melbourne, Madgen returns to the WNBL after a strong World Cup campaign with Australia.

With first-choice point guards Leilani Mitchell and Lauren Mansfield having to withdraw from the squad on the eve of the World Cup, Madgen, who was expected to play off the ball, was thrust into ball handling duties at the 11th hour.

“I thought she was really consistent for the Opals,” Brassard said.

“She came in and played a really good role off the bench. For her, her role changed at the last minute.

“So to be able to show how versatile she was to take up that back up position as a point guard position when all the training camps and all the preparation she was the shooting guard.

“It kind of shows how good she is, how smart she is and how versatile she is.”

The Fire will play the Heat from 3pm on Sunday, with entry free for members and fans.

Additionally, members will be able to collect their 2018/19 merchandise from the foyer from 12.30pm to 3.30pm at TBI.

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