The JCU Townsville Fire’s bid to become just the third WNBL club to secure a three-peat will be determined by how well they defend their home floor.
Commencing on New Year’s Eve against Melbourne, the Fire, who presently sit fifth with an 8-7 record, boast six of their final eight rounds at Townsville Stadium and look set to boast a full bill of health for the first time this season.
— JCU Townsville Fire (@TownsvilleFire) December 19, 2016
Having nursed a hotspot in her foot during the first half of the season, championship-winning forward Darcee Garbin has enjoyed a month on the sidelines and is expected to fill her vital role as the Fire’s sixth man, while former Opals point guard Kelly Wilson is on the brink of returning after suffering a fractured ankle in round five.
With two-thirds of their remaining games on their home floor, the two-time defending champions can control their own destiny by returning Townsville Stadium into the competition’s most feared fortress.
Returning to the training floor following Christmas, head coach Claudia Brassard said the team had enjoyed a much-needed break.
“It was a good break, I think everyone needed a mental break and a physical break,” Brassard said.
“We’ve been living in each others pockets during our travel in November and early December.
“It was a full-on travel schedule and it barely seemed like we were here, so looking ahead we have nine games left — six of them at home — and that’s a nice way to finish.”
With New Year’s Eve having been synonymous with Townsville thanks to the NBL, the Fire are hoping Saturday night’s game will be a blockbuster.
“I think it’s exciting,” Brassard said.
“The Crocs always had a great night on New Year’s Eve, and our players used to go watch, so they know what it’s all about.
“For us to have that opportunity here at home is fantastic.
“Hopefully we get a nice big crowd and everyone enjoys it because it will be good fun.”
Click here to pre-purchase tickets to the Fire’s NYE game against Melbourne.