Jade Melbourne headed to Brazil with Aus Opals

January 17, 2024 | UC Capitals news

UC Capitals co-captain, Jade Melbourne, has been selected in the Australian Opals team headed to Belém, Brazil to compete in the Olympic Qualifiers from the 8th-11th of February.

She received the call during the car trip home from breakfast with her Caps teammates while away in Bendigo.

“It just goes ‘Sandy Brondello’ over the Bluetooth and I just yelled ‘disconnect it, turn it off!’ So, six of the girls go dead silent in the car and I’m just in the back thinking this could go one of two ways.

“Answered the phone call and when I said ‘thanks so much I appreciate it, Sandy’ all the girls had smiles all over the place. It was pretty cool to receive the phone call in front of them because they’ve all helped me along the journey to get there,” she said.

Her teammates were just as proud as she was, even queueing “Celebration” by Kool & The Gang for the rest of the trip home.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by UC Capitals (@uccapitals)

The 12-player squad was narrowed down from an initial group of 20 announced by Basketball Australia in December, with eight WNBL players included in the squad.

Jade said she was satisfied she had done all she could to set herself up for the selection, having settled into her role with the Caps this season.

“It’s still a surprise every time, I can’t believe it but I’m just looking forward to getting over to Brazil and do whatever I can to help the qualify for the Olympics. It’s the pinnacle for me to represent my country so I’m looking forward to getting with the girls, getting over there and hopefully doing the job,” she said.

Jade has been involved in the senior team for the last few years, most recently she was involved in the Opals preparations for the 2022 FIBA World Cup where she trained with the team right up until the tournament began.

The last time she earned an international cap was in a three-game friendly against Japan in May, 2022. Prior to that, her first major tournament was the 2021 Asia Cup where she picked up a bronze medal.

Drawn into Group A, the Opals will play three games in four days against Germany, Serbia, and the host nation, Brazil. Australia is currently ranked 3rd in the FIBA World Rankings, only behind the USA and China.

They need to finish top 3 in their pool to qualify to the Paris Olympics in July.