Opals ramp up prep for FIBA Qualifier

Opals ramp up prep for FIBA Qualifier

The Jayco Australian Opals are ramping up preparations for the 2013 FIBA Oceania Championships with another training camp under Head Coach Brendan Joyce in Victoria next week.

A 16-strong squad headlined by a string of 2012 Olympians will knuckle down for the five-day camp in Dandenong and Ballarat, from where Joyce will select the final squad to take on New Zealand at the FIBA Qualifier in August.

Joyce said the team – which boasts Opals’ veterans Lauren Jackson, Belinda Snell, Jenni Screen and Laura Hodges alongside emerging talent the likes of Alice Kunek and Tess Madgen – would be put through their paces with solid on-court training sessions and friendly games against SEABL’S Dandenong Rangers and Ballarat’s Youth League men’s team.

“Put simply, we’re getting down to business now,” Joyce said.

“Our first two camps this year were about establishing cohesion and a style of play across a large pool of athletes, as well as entrenching those core values of what it means to be a Jayco Australian Opal.

“Those camps opened up the opportunities for a broader number of players to take part in the Opals training environment, and that has in turn created a real depth of players from which to select our final FIBA Qualifier squad.

“I’m confident that ahead of the FIBA Qualifier we’ll be able to put together an exciting complement of elite international experience, rising stars starting to hit their strides and emerging talent to watch.”

Joyce also confirmed permanent appointments to the Opals’ coaching staff, with Australian Emus Under 19 Men’s Head Coach Damian Cotter to become Assistant Coach.

“As far as coaches go, Damian’s got the whole package: he reads the game well on the day, he has a proven track record in developing players, and he’s just an all-round, quality person,” Joyce said.

“I’ve seen the way he works in the SEABL and at the NSW Institute of Sport, and I know his experience will be crucial to the women’s program as we look to strengthen our elite pathways and develop those Opals’ stars of the future.”

Former Opals and WNBL Coach and first female coach in the NBL Lori Chizik – who has been working with the team since Joyce’s appointment – has also agreed to stay on as Assistant Coach until after the 2013 FIBA Oceania Championships.

Rounding out the coaching staff is Technical Assistant Coach Scott Butler, who is currently Basketball Queensland’s High Performance Manager for North Queensland and has a long history of development coaching in Queensland and South Australia.

For further updates from the Jayco Australian Opals training camp in Dandenong and Ballarat, stay tuned at: www.basketball.net.au

Jayco Australian Opals Training Camp – Victoria, July 2013

Name / Height / Position / DOB / Club

Natalie Burton / 194cm / Centre / 23 Mar 1989 / West Coast Waves

Renae Camino / 177cm / Guard / 19 November 1986 / Sydney Uni Flames

Cayla Francis / 192cm / Centre / 1 May 1989 / Nantes, France

Laura Hodges / 188cm / Forward / 13 December 1983 / Adelaide Lightning

Natalie Hurst / 163cm / Guard / 8 April 1983 / Canberra Capitals

Lauren Jackson / 195cm / Forward / Centre / 11 May 1981 / Canberra Capitals

Alice Kunek / 187cm / Guard-Forward / 6 January 1991 / Bulleen Boomers

Tessa Lavey / 170cm / Guard / 29 Mar 1993 / Bendigo Spirit

Amy Lewis / 177cm / Guard / 14 May 1986 / Adelaide Lightning

Tess Madgen / 180cm / Guard / 12 August 1990 / Bulleen Boomers

Jennifer Screen / 180cm / Forward / 24 February 1983 / Adelaide Lightning

Belinda Snell / 180cm / Guard / 10 January 1981 / CCC Polkowice (Poland)

Marianna Tolo / 196cm / Forward-Centre / 2 July 1989 / Aix-ene-Provence (France)

Kristen Veal / 176 cm / Guard / 24 July 1981 / Logan Thunder

Kelly Wilson / 170cm / Guard / 1 January 1985 / Bendigo Spirit

Hanna Zavecz / 183cm / Guard / Forward / 21 August 1985 / Logan Thunder


Head Coach: Brendan Joyce

Assistant Coaches: Damian Cotter, Lori Chizik, Scott Butler

Physiotherapy: Rachel McAlister, Jessica Thornton

Manager: Tamara Sheppard