Game 1 preview

November 4, 2023 | Townsville Fire news

Announced as Townsville’s captain at the club’s season launch, Sami Whitcomb brings a wealth of experience to the role. The WNBL stalwart wasted little time settling into her new surroundings and establishing herself as a leader, despite being a fresh face.

“I think that’s something I’ve become more comfortable with the older I am, and I’m just naturally a little bit more outspoken. Not necessarily directly leading, but just saying things and holding people accountable and myself accountable all of those things.”

She’ll encourage others to speak up, especially point guard Steph Reid, who’s now in her fourth campaign with the Fire, and second as Vice-captain.

“It’s an honour to come in and be a part of the leadership group with Steph, you know we have a lot of fantastic leaders amongst the group as it is, so we talked about how it’s going to be kind of leading by committee honestly. We’re all going to be asked to step up in moments.”

Whitcomb will skipper the side for the first time on Saturday. She’s anticipating a tough challenge to begin with, against a relatively settled Spirit.

“They’ve got a good core coming back which you know this year isn’t the norm, I think there’s been a lot of player movement. So it’s going to be a great test to play a team that has their main group back, same coach as well, so you know they’re going to be doing a lot of similar things.”

While Shannon Seebohm shares a similar view assessing the hosts, he’s expecting a few tweaks to their game. Townsville’s coach concedes scouting for an opening round encounter is a difficult assignment.

“You know it’s tough, round one you don’t really know what teams have done in the off season and what adjustments they’ve made, so that’s going to be something we’ll have to adjust to during the game on Saturday, as they will with us.”

His solution is simple and a tried and tested formula.

“It’s more important to focus on how we’re playing and what we’re doing, rather than worrying about the opposition too much.”

Still, a firm Fire focus didn’t stop the self-confessed basketball nerd tuning in for the WNBL season opener on Wednesday night.

“Oh yeah, I watched it… Of course I watched it! But no, it’s great to see other teams play before us, you can kind of see the nerves and some of the mistakes that are made and you can kind of learn from that and try and make sure we don’t do the same things in our game.”

The defending will take to the court against Bendigo this Saturday. Tip off is at 4pm Queensland time, with the clash to be streamed on the 9NOW App.