The JCU Townsville Fire will commence their 2017/18 WNBL season on the road with a first-up clash against Melbourne.
Earlier today, the WNBL released the competition’s new-look fixture, with the Fire scheduled to face the Boomers in an opening round blockbuster that pits five-time WNBL MVP Suzy Batkovic against Opals centre Liz Cambage.
The Fire will host their first game at Townsville Stadium on Friday, October 13 when they clash with the UC Capitals.
Having signed a three-year broadcast agreement with Fox Sports over winter, the 2017/18 WNBL season is one of the most highly anticipated in memory, with a glut of superstars returning to the competition headlined by the Fire’s own Cayla George.
— JCU Townsville Fire (@TownsvilleFire) July 26, 2017
The Rio Olympian was one of the cornerstones of the Fire’s back-to-back championships in 2014/15 and 2015/16, and having claimed another title in Hungary last season, is poised to reunite with Batkovic to form the WNBL’s most formidable front court.
“The condensed nature of this season’s draw means it is going to be a war of attrition,” Batkovic said.
“There’s no time to rest, so every team will be hoping to come out all guns blazing and we are no different.
“With 10 inter-state trips in three months – we will be the most travelled team in the nation – but we’re used to handling adversity and we’re intent on challenging for another title.”
Following the Fire’s round two clash against the Capitals, they will host the Sydney Uni Flames in round three, who ended their hopes of a three-peat in the semi-finals last season en route to being crowned the champions.
For a successive season, the Fire will host a New Year’s Eve fixture – their final game of the regular season – with a 1pm tip-off.
“The games are going to come thick and fast,” Fire General Manager Richard Goodbody said.
“We’ve been able to retain some of our preferred fixtures including our annual Halloween game against Melbourne on October 29 and our Hoops for Troops game against Bendigo on November 11.
“The move to a day game on New Year’s Eve is an exciting initiative and we hope that it will allow our members and fans to be able to pair the final WNBL game of the season with their planned activities that night.”
With the fixture now published, the Fire will look to sign their final player for the 2017/18 WNBL season, with the club presently exploring import options.
2017/18 JCU Townsville Fire squad: Haylee Andrews (development player), Zitina Aokuso, Suzy Batkovic, Micaela Cocks, Darcee Garbin, Cayla George, Miela Goodchild (development player), Mia Murray, Marena Whittle, Sydney Wiese and Kelly Wilson.