Flames youngster to help Fire ignite
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.