Fire guards urged to lift their game

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - TRENT SLAT­TER

AS­SIS­TANT coach Mark Wrobel says the Townsville Fire are still try­ing to get the bal­ance of their of­fence right head­ing into to­mor­row af­ter­noon’s clash with Mel­bourne at Townsville Sta­dium.

Cap­tain Suzy Batkovic has dom­i­nated the scor­ing this sea­son with 23 points per game while Darcee Garbin is av­er­ag­ing a ca­reer- high 10.4, but the Fire haven’t had the same out­put from their guards.

Mi­caela Cocks ( 8.2) and Tess Mad­gen ( 6.6) are both mak­ing solid con­tri­bu­tions on the score­board, but Wrobel said the Fire were look­ing for more ways to strengthen their back­court.

“We’ve been a lit­tle bit crit­i­cal of some of our back­court per­for­mances and made sure that we want to get some more pro­duc­tion out of that,” Wrobel said.

“Suzy is get­ting her points, but in past sea­sons we’ve had a lead­ing guard scorer in some­one like a Mia Mur­ray or a Syd­ney Wiese whereas this year it’s been a bit more of an even spread.

“It’s prob­a­bly been a bit de­cep­tive. Against Syd­ney a cou­ple of weeks ago where it was all her­alded that Suzy had 30, but we had three play­ers that had nine points and an­other that had seven.

“Yes, we would like one of our guards to sud­denly come out and have a break­out game and ease the load a lit­tle bit more. That’s go­ing to help us for sure, but we know that’ll come.

“We’ve had these lit­tle teething is­sues at the start of ev­ery sea­son about try­ing to find the bal­ance right be­tween the perime­ter and the post game and I don’t think we’re far off get­ting that right.” The Boomers have a star- stud­ded line- up with four cur­rent Opals play­ers, but they’ve also strug­gled at times in the early rounds and the un­her­alded Bendigo Spirit have beaten them twice.

Start­ing Boomers cen­tre Ezi Mag­be­gor is side­lined with a bro­ken hand ahead of their trip to Townsville and Wrobel said it could prove a sea­son- defin­ing clash for both teams.

“I think they’re sim­i­lar ( to the Fire). They’ve just been try­ing to find the right sys­tem for what’s go­ing to work for them and they’ve looked a lot bet­ter over the last cou­ple of weeks,” he said. “We’ve had a lit­tle bit of a look at what Bendigo’s done to have good ef­fect against them and we’ll try and repli­cate some of those things.

“I’m sure both teams be­lieve they’re go­ing to be there at the end of the sea­son and they’re as des­per­ate as we are to make sure that they don’t fall be­hind in the se­ries split.”

IN FORM: Townsville Fire star Darcee Garbin has been lead­ing the way for her team dur­ing the start of the WNBL sea­son and ( in­set) Opals player Ezi Mag­be­gor will not play for the Boomers to­mor­row. Pic­ture: EVAN MOR­GAN

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