Battle for Fire’s pres­ti­gious MVP

Townsville Bulletin - - Bizfi Nd -

TOWNSVILLE’S tri­dent of in­spi­ra­tional lead­ers will tonight fight it out for the Fire’s top gong.

C a p t a i n R a c h a e l Flana­gan, re­tired in­ter­na­tional star Jo Hill and shoot­ing star Amy Lewis are the fron­trun­ners to c l a i m t he c l ub’ s MVP award at the medal din­ner at the Greek Com­mu­nity Club.

Opals pro­tege Flana­gan swept three ma­jor hon­ours last sea­son, claim­ing club MVP, Play­ers’ Player and Fans’ Player, and has again been a lead­ing fig­ure for the Fire with ca­reer-best av­er­ages across the board.

The 28-year-old guard not only dis­tin­guished her­self as one of the WNBL’s finest cap­tains, she did so as the club’s lead­ing scorer and provider, av­er­ag­ing 14.3 points and five as­sists per game. Lewis might rate her sea­son – which be­gan with a ca­reer-high 29-point haul - as an up and down cam­paign, but she was a re­li­able out­let in the Fire’s i mpres­sive l at esea­son surge.

Hill, at 37 and play­ing her fi­nal sea­son in Aus­tralia’s top flight, en­sured she went out on a per­sonal high with a dou­ble-dou­ble of 15 points and 12 boards in the fi­nal round against Lo­gan. It was her t hird dou­ble­dou­ble of the sea­son.

Fire coach Peter Buckle said it would be hard to split the three af­ter they shared the bur­den of driv­ing an un­her­alded Townsville side, built around youth and lack­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. ‘‘ In a lot of ways those three have done a fan­tas­tic job,’’ Buckle said.

‘‘ Flana­gan’s cap­taincy was very good, Jo’s ex­pe­ri­ence was valu­able and Amy de­vel­oped her lead­er­ship role as well as her own game.’’

Amy Lewis

Rachael Flana­gan

Jo Hill

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