Flames young­ster to help Fire ig­nite

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - MICHAEL THOMPSON michael. thompson@ news. com. au

AUS­TRALIAN Joe In­gles could be set for an ex­panded NBA role with Utah after fel­low small for­ward Gor­don Hay­ward’s de­par­ture to join Bos­ton.

Hay­ward starred in the Jazz’s run to the west­ern con­fer­ence semi- fi­nals in 201617 in what was also In­gles’ best NBA season.

Los­ing All Star Hay­ward, who av­er­aged 22.9 points per game last season, hurts the Jazz’s prospects of reach­ing the play- offs for the sec­ond straight year.

In­gles won’t be ex­pected to en­tirely plug the gap left by Hay­ward and the Jazz are un­der­stood to be look­ing at trad­ing for a star. THE new gen­er­a­tion has ar­rived for the Townsville Fire.

Local ju­nior Haylee An­drews and Bris­bane tal­ent Miela Good­child have signed with the Fire as their devel­op­ment play­ers for the 2017 WNBL season, and for An­drews it is her sec­ond season with the Fire after grad­u­at­ing from the side’s academy sys­tem.

They will train with a Fire squad that may sign an im­port fol­low­ing the re­lease of the WNBL draw.

Fire coach Clau­dia Bras­sard, who trav­elled to Guam yes­ter­day as part of Aus­tralia’s coach­ing staff for the un­der- 17 Ocea­nia Cham­pi­onships, said the young pair were ready to take their devel­op­ment to the next level.

An­drews has al­ready played a hand­ful of WNBL games and has been in im­pres­sive form for the Townsville Flames in the QBL, av­er­ag­ing 0.4 points, 3.1 re­bounds and 2.1 as­sists.

“I think it’s all about path­ways and Hay­ley had a first taste of the elite level last year when she trained with us and she’s re­ally car­ried that through in the QBL and turned it on,” Bras­sard said.

“She’s in­creased her role since the be­gin­ning of the season with that team to be­ing a starter and that’s where we re­ally see her. She needs to keep tak­ing steps for­ward and for Miela it’s the same thing.”

Good­child won gold for Aus­tralia at the most re­cent un­der- 17 World Cham­pi­onships and is widely re­gard- ed as one of Queens­land’s most im­pres­sive young play­ers.

Bras­sard will join Good­child with the un­der- 17 Aus­tralian team in Guam over the next fort­night.

“Like most teams, we have a depth chart and she’s been on that depth chart for a while,” Bras­sard said.

“It was through mu­tual con­tacts, hav­ing chat with her par­ents and with Miela and ask­ing ‘ can we make this work?’.

“She still has to fin­ish school, so it’s about mak­ing sure some of the dates worked in for us so we could get her up here for enough time to make it ben­e­fi­cial for both of us.

“We’re re­ally pleased about it and I think it's a bit of a role for us to fill now that there’s no ( WNBL) team down in south­east Queens­land.

“We have to make sure we’re look­ing at all the Queens­land kids.”

Good­child is also hav­ing a stand­out year in the QBL with Lo­gan, av­er­ag­ing 10.5 points, 2.3 re­bounds and 1.9 as­sists. Last week­end she scored a sea­son­high 21 points against Rock­hamp­ton.

Bras­sard said the Fire may look to­wards re­cruit­ing an im­port to fi­nalise their ros­ter.

“We’re wait­ing on that fi­nal draw and it’s go­ing to be pretty full- on. We know it is with the shorter season,” she said.

“A player who is go­ing to play min­utes is what we’re look­ing for, so we’re search­ing far and wide and not just in Aus­tralia.”

2017- 18 Townsville Fire squad: Haylee An­drews ( devel­op­ment player), Zitina Aokuso, Suzy Batkovic, Mi­caela Cocks, Darcee Garbin, Cayla Ge­orge, Miela Good­child ( devel­op­ment player), Mia Mur­ray, Marena Whittle, Syd­ney Wiese, Kelly Wil­son.

TOP TAL­ENT: Un­der- 17 Aus­tralian rep­re­sen­ta­tive Miela Good­child ( main) and Townsville Flames ris­ing star Haylee An­drews will be devel­op­ment play­ers for the Fire.

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