By Lachy France
Brydens Sydney Uni Flames are excited to announce the first members of the team’s squad for the 2016-17 season. Hayley Moffatt, Alex Wilson, Carly Boag, and Tahlia Tupaea will all return from the 2015-16 squad as the Flames strive to improve on last season’s 13-11 record.
Moffatt joined the Flames in 2014 and quickly established herself as part of the starting lineup. Bringing a reputation as a lock-down defender, that defensive prowess was on show throughout the season as the small forward won the club’s Defensive Player Of The Year award as the Flames reached the 2014-15 preliminary final. Moffatt reprised that starting role in 2015-16, playing almost 25 minutes per game and scoring 5.6 points per game whilst exhibiting the exceptional defence that Flames fans have come to know and love. Returning for a third campaign in Sydney, Moffatt is excited about the season to come.
“I’m thrilled to be asked to join the Flames for another season. Cheryl [Chambers] is a great coach and I’m very excited to have the opportunity to work with her,” stated Moffatt. “With a few new faces around the team we will be looking forward to improving on our result from last season.”
Alex Wilson signed for the Flames in 2015, making the move from Townsville after winning the 2014-15 championship with the Fire. Coming off the bench for the majority of the 2015-16 season, Wilson averaged 8.4 points in just over 20 minutes of action per game. With the departure of club captain Katie-Rae Ebzery to Russia, Wilson’s workload is set to increase and the 2014 WNBL Rookie Of The Year is looking forward to the upcoming campaign.
“I’m very excited for the upcoming season with the Flames; last year I felt we had a good year as a team and just fell short at the end. We will have a lot of new faces around the organisation with players and coaches and hopefully, with these new additions, we can improve on last season,” enthused Wilson.
Wilson also has experience playing under new Flames coach Cheryl Chambers and is clearly enthusiastic about working with Chambers once more. “Cheryl was my Under 19 Australian coach in 2013 and led us to [a bronze] medal at the world championships. She has a wealth of experience and I’m looking forward to playing and learning under her again.”
Wilson will return to the Flames after a stellar SEABL season with Launceston. Wilson leads the league in three pointers made by a margin of 20, hitting 60 shots from beyond the arc in 16 games to this point. Wilson also leads Launceston in points per game with 21.3, good enough for 7th in the competition.
Following a stellar college career at Minot State and a season playing professionally in France, Carly Boag made her WNBL debut for the Flames in 2015, quickly establishing herself as one of the team’s go-to options off the bench. Boag averaged 5.5 points and 5.6 rebounds last season, playing almost 17 minutes per game in her first WNBL season, and is looking to improve on those numbers in the coming season.
“I am really excited about playing for the Flames again for the 2016/17 season with new players and a new coach,” Boag said. “I’ve heard great things about Cheryl Chambers and I am excited to work with her as I personally hope to able be contribute in an even bigger way this season and help the team do one better and make finals.”
Boag has spent the winter playing in the QBL for Bundaberg, where the forward is currently enjoying a stellar season, averaging 24.9 points and 14.5 rebounds per game, placing her in the top 5 in the league in both categories at this point.
Tahlia Tupaea has been part of the Flames’ system for four seasons, and in 2015-16 established herself as the team’s starting point guard after serving as an understudy to the likes of Alicia Poto and Leilani Mitchell in previous seasons. Coming into 2016-17, Tahlia is looking to grow even further under the Flames’ new coach.
“I really can’t wait for the season to start, last season Shannon [Seebohm] gave me a great opportunity as the starting point guard, I feel my game really developed under his coaching and I am looking forward to further developing my game under Cheryl Chambers as head coach. I’ve been coached by Cheryl when she gave me an amazing opportunity when I was selected in the 2013 Under 19s Gems team,” Tupaea explained.
As the young point guard becomes a leader for the Flames, it is clear that Tupaea is determined to help lead the team to success in 2016-17. “We will have a new mix; players and coaching staff really want the team to do well so our fans, supporters and sponsors can be proud.”
Brydens Sydney Uni Flames will be announcing more player signings in the coming weeks, so make sure to follow the team on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.