Fire put on alert as bo­gey team looms

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - TRENT SLAT­TER trent.slat­ter@news.com.au

THE Townsville Fire are wary of an am­bush from “bo­gey team” Dan­de­nong ahead of to­mor­row af­ter­noon’s WNBL sea­son opener at Townsville Sta­dium.

Dan­de­nong had an im­pres­sive record against the Fire last sea­son, win­ning two of their three clashes with the even­tual cham­pi­ons de­spite fin­ish­ing sev­enth on the lad­der.

The Rangers have also added some ex­pe­ri­ence to their ros­ter for 2018- 19 in­clud­ing Lon­don Olympic bronze medal­list Rachel Jarry and for­mer Mel­bourne Boomers star Bec Cole.

Fire coach Clau­dia Bras­sard felt her side had failed to stick to the game plan in past en­coun­ters with Dan­de­nong, but she was con­fi­dent they could iron out any kinks in this morn­ing’s fi­nal train­ing run.

“I think in the past what’s hurt us is just break­downs in our scout and not be­ing ready on a few things that we said we would get done,” she said.

“I’m happy we’ve got them first round and can see how they have been jelling be­cause they are a bit of a newlook team and it’ll prob­a­bly take them a lit­tle while.

“THEY’LL PUSH THE BALL SO OUR ‘ D’ TRANS HAS TO BE ON POINT AS WELL AND THAT’S A BIT OF A CON­CERN. CLAU­DIA BRAS­SARD

“We’ve had some good prepa­ra­tion. There’s still a few things we need to get done in the last two train­ings so we want to make sure that we’re just nail­ing down the scout that we want.”

Bras­sard said the Fire’s de­fen­sive tran­si­tion would be an im­por­tant fo­cus as they looked to keep Dan­de­nong’s scor­ers in check.

“We’ve got to make sure we got the ball in­side – there’s no se­cret there – but by the same to­ken we need to be play­ing in tran­si­tion, get­ting them run­ning, and see if we can at­tack them just as eas­ily as they’re go­ing to try to be at­tack­ing us,” she said.

“They’ve had some sig­nif­i­cant changes, los­ing Steph ( Bli­cavs), but then bring­ing in Bec Cole and Bet­ni­jah Laney so those are two re­ally good scor­ers that will at­tack the rim re­ally hard.

“They’ll push the ball so our ‘ D’ trans has to be on point as well and that’s a bit of a con­cern. We haven’t had much op­por­tu­nity to prac­tice that yet so hope­fully we’ll get that done.”

Bras­sard had yet to set­tle on her start­ing five when she spoke to me­dia yes­ter­day, but the coach ex­pected it would likely be a week- to- week de­ci­sion with such a deep ros­ter again this sea­son.

“It’s good to have those op­tions,” she said. “I think we might look at some dif­fer­ent match- ups and see which way we want to start. Last sea­son we changed up our starters quite of­ten and I prob­a­bly ex­pect the same this sea­son.”

Tip off at Townsville Sta­dium to­mor­row is at 3pm.

TOWNSVILLE FIRE LIFTOUT IN­SIDE

Pic­ture: ZAK SIM­MONDS

READY: Townsville Fire cap­tain Suzy Batkovic in ac­tion against the Townsville Fire un­der- 23 team dur­ing last week­end’s fi­nal pre- sea­son trial.

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