Black cats crossing paths, broken mirrors abounding and walking under ladders have all been quipped as reasons for the incredible run of injuries suffered by the Deakin Melbourne Boomers, but the truth is it’s just been one of those years.
When asked about his team’s plight, Coach Guy Molloy answered a question with a question – “What can you do? It’s one of those years, it happens.”
With captain Tess Madgen hampered by an ankle injury, and Elyse Penaluna, Kristen Veal and Britt Smart all sidelined, the Boomers have started looking to the future as a number of development players grab opportunities to play.
“It’s just been a horror run to be honest,” said Molloy, adding, “But we’re not whinging about it, we’re getting on with business, working flat out to entertain our fans and focusing damn hard on the future.”
The latest set-back came on the road in Adelaide with Maddie Garrick taking a nasty fall early in the second quarter against the Lightning and cutting her chin open. After a promising start to the game it shook her up, the full extent of the fall revealed later in the night when she was taken to hospital for stitches.
“Just when you think you couldn’t possibly cop another injury, along comes a foul that unfortunately saw Maddie land hard, injuring both her chin and wrist,” explained Molloy.
“Justin (General Manager) took her off to hospital after the game and later that night we all learned she had been patched up with some stitches given the depth of the wound.”
“But this sort of adversity opens up opportunities and that’s the test for the players now. We know finals are out of reach, but behind the scenes we are working very hard on the future. We don’t want excuses, we want progress and silver linings. Injuries create opportunity, we’re being proactive,” added Molloy.
General Manager, Justin Nelson, agreed with Molloy and said the team’s coaching staff were firmly focused on making sure the Boomers finish strongly with three consecutive home games.
“Despite the mounting injuries, we had a record crowd at our last home game. Guy, his coaching staff and the players are doing a fantastic job engaging with the supporters and together we always aim to put on a good show,” said Nelson.
“Injuries are a part of sport. You won’t hear us whinge or dwell, rather it has provided us with a really good opportunity to take a look at some of the younger players coming through our program and that’s exciting. I also think the fans enjoy seeing some emerging players as well.”
“Some obstacles may have hampered our finals aspirations this season, but our crowds are up sixty-one per cent, our focus has been on creating a family culture and that has really emerged, especially amongst a bit of adversity.”
The Boomers head back home on Saturday night (February 6 vs Townsville) for their Dad’s & Daughter’s Night, another positive theme that Nelson says is all about the club increasing its reach out to families.
“I have two daughters of my own and basketball has always been a common interest for us, so I’ll be making sure they come along to the game and enjoy a fun night out with their dad. We all lead busy lives, so some time out enjoying something together will be good.”
“Of course we still want all the mums and sons to be there as well, but the chance for dads to bond and spend some time with their daughters is really important, and if we can help give families a night out at the WNBL then I think we’re onto something special,” added Nelson.
WHAT: Dad’s & Daughter’s Night
WHEN: Saturday February 6
WHO: Deakin Melbourne Boomers vs JCU Townsville Fire
WHERE: State Basketball Centre (Wantirna South)
TIME: 7:30pm tip-off