Townsville Bulletin - - FIRED UP - TRENT SLAT­TER

CAP­TAIN Suzy Batkovic believes the Townsville Fire’s new re­cruits can have an im­me­di­ate im­pact in to­mor­row’s open­ing round WNBL clash with Dan­de­nong at Townsville Sta­dium.

The de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons are leav­ing no stone un­turned in their quest for a fourth ti­tle in five sea­sons, bring­ing in the likes of Opals guard Tess Mad­gen, WNBA draftee Ally Malott and three- point weapon Casey Sa­muels.

The Fire showed great signs in their fi­nal prac­tice match last week­end, shoot­ing above 80 per cent in a blis­ter­ing first quar­ter as they fought out a 71- 71 draw with the Heat un­der- 23 men.

Batkovic said there was al­ways a learn­ing curve in the first of­fi­cial game of the sea­son, but she be­lieved the Fire had a tal­ented squad which could set the com­pe­ti­tion alight.

“We’ve got a new team with dif­fer­ent play­ers so the first few rounds are al­ways go­ing to be a bit of a learn­ing stage to see how teams are run­ning and where play­ers slot in,” she said.

“You see it day in day out ( at train­ing), but when we put it to­gether on the floor in a game mode it’s com­pletely dif­fer­ent, so I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to what every­one brings.

“We’ll be ag­gres­sive and also work­ing our butts off on de­fence, but at the same time it will be good for us to work out what other teams are do­ing as well.”

Batkovic re­cently re­vealed that this would be her last sea­son in the WNBL af­ter a dec­o­rated ca­reer of more than 300 games and five cham­pi­onships, in­clud­ing three in Townsville.

The six- time WNBL MVP has done her best to avoid the ex­tra at­ten­tion head­ing into her fi­nal cam­paign, but she said there was one mile­stone this week which she was happy to cel­e­brate.

“I ac­tu­ally said the other day with a big smile ‘ pre­sea­son’s fin­ished and I never have to do that ever again’ so that was nice,” Batkovic said.

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