Grand Final locked in

March 16, 2023 | Townsville Fire news

The JCU Townsville Fire and Southside Flyers will face off in the WNBL grand final series in a repeat of the 2020 hub decider. Southside secured the double on that occasion, claiming the championship as minor premiers, this time though Townsville’s the top ranked team and determined to secure a fourth title.  Kate Gaze, Zitina Aokuso, Steph Reid, Shyla Heal, Lara McSpadden, Courtney Woods and Lauren Nicholson don’t want to be runners up again. The latter’s looking forward to her shot at redemption.

“Yeah I think having a core group of girls that we’ve had here for the last few years is important, we’ve been in this situation before so we know what to expect. It is a little bit different having a three game series but it’s really exciting.”

The captain’s confident she’ll get her hands on the trophy, and with good reason. The Fire have racked up 14 consecutive wins, grinding out some results and totally dominating other games.

“Yeah I fully believe that we can win it. Any way that we can get it done in the finals is what we’re going to do and just have trust in ourselves, in our system, in our coaches that we’re going to get it done. But yeah I think we have all the pieces, we just have to play well.”

They’ve won all three battles with the Flyers this season, restricting them to an average of 71 points per game, 12 points less per game than Southside’s offensive output across the competition. Nicholson is proud of Townsville’s suffocating defence, which has leaked the least points per game in the league.

“Knowing that we can win it on the defensive end is big for us.”

The JCU Fire spent the start of the week recovering from travelling to Perth and back, but beating the Lynx in straight sets has given Shannon Seebohm’s side extra time to prepare for Saturday night’s grand final opener. The coach hopes the hosts’ fresher legs will be an advantage.

“Potentially, I think playing at home for game one helps us a little bit, but we’ll be training pretty hard and just trying to make sure that there’s no rust going into the grand final.”

Less than 200 tickets to the blockbuster remain. Secure your seat at the Fire Pit if you haven’t already, and be a part of our sixth player.