Fire primed for Hoops For Troops

November 28, 2018 | Townsville Fire news

The JCU Townsville Fire are battle-ready ahead of their annual Hoops For Troops clash against Bendigo.

A trio of Grand Final appearances between 2012/13 and 2014/15 has paved the way for the Chemist Warehouse WNBL’s fiercest rivalry, with last week’s overtime thriller adding extra ammunition for Thursday night’s re-match at Townsville Stadium.

Bendigo coach Simon Pritchard claimed the Spirit ‘had won the game’ after Saturday’s loss, with six-time WNBL MVP Suzy Batkovic fouled with 0.7 seconds on the clock and sent to the free-throw line.

While Batkovic missed the first attempt, she slotted the second before the Fire flexed their might in extra time to secure an 89-82 win.

“We had the game won, but circumstances changed in the last two seconds,” Pritchard said.

“We did all we could do – we’ve got to bounce back on Thursday and show that it wasn’t a mistake.”

Having made a slow start to their title defence, the Fire were in desperate need of a victory in Bendigo and can move within striking distance of the top-four by securing back-to-back wins against the Spirit.

Adding an extra dimension to the fixture is the ‘Hoops For Troops’ element, with the Fire sporting camouflage uniforms to pay their respects to the servicemen and women of Townsville.

“We’re a proud garrison city,” Batkovic said.

“We boast a strong and entrenched relationship with the Australian Army based on mutual values and respect and it is always an honour to play with the Rising Sun on our back.

“It’s been a tough start to the season, but having gotten to 4-5, we have the opportunity to go on a run and to move into the top-four before Christmas and see what we can do at the back end of the season.

“We know Bendigo will be looking for revenge, but we’re starting to find our rhythm as a new group and we want to payback the faith that our fans have placed in us.”

The Fire host the Spirit at Townsville Stadium from 7pm on Thursday night.

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