JCU Townsville Fire captain Suzy Batkovic believes the two-time reigning champions are ready to roll ahead of Sunday’s home opener against Perth.
Returning to Townsville Stadium for the first time since hoisting the WNBL trophy aloft, Batkovic, the league’s most dominant force, said she was excited by the new-look line-up and the different gears the team now possesses.
Following the departure of some of last year’s championship heroes, the Fire have re-tooled with explosive speed following the signings of Natasha Cloud and Kelly Wilson, while Amy Kame and Kayla Standish are also expected to compliment the team’s core.
Having claimed back-to-back titles, Batkovic is aware that the Lynx – and the remainder of the WNBL – will be gunning for the Fire, but remains unfazed by the task at hand.
“We’ve had a target on our back for a long time now,” Batkovic said.
“I don’t feel the pressure – it’s a challenge and I love it – and I would rather have a challenging game than a blow-out game.
“I find that a little bit boring in my opinion.”
Perth has also tweaked its line-up, with WNBA championship winner Monica Wright returning to the WNBL, while Canadian Ruth Hamblin is expected to provide them with a strong presence in the key.
Opals point guard Tess Lavey will be missing, however, and Batkovic is hoping the Fire can exploit her absence.
“Tess brings a lot of speed to the game that’s one of her biggest assets,” Batkovic said.
“But welcome to Townsville, Natasha Cloud, she’s quick, solid body, extremely athletic, so this year we’ve probably gone up a level in that department.
“She’s quick, wow, I’m glad she’s on my team.”
The Fire host the Lynx at Townsville Stadium from 1pm on Sunday.
Click here to pre-purchase tickets to Sunday’s game against the Lynx.