Jayco Opals name squad for Gold Coast training camp

Jayco Opals name squad for Gold Coast training camp

The Jayco Australian Opals are bound for the Gold Coast later this month, with a 20-strong squad named for the upcoming training camp tipping off on April 13.

Jayco Opals Head Coach Brendan Joyce has reduced the squad after last week’s camp at the Basketball Australia National Centre of Excellence (CoE), while welcoming several players back into the fold.

Coming together for the first time since the 2010 FIBA World Championship for Women, the stellar trio of Penny Taylor, Erin Phillips and Liz Cambage will again be present for the six-day camp to be held at The Southport School (TSS).

Excited to again be able to call upon his stars, Joyce said the opportunity to work with the team for another extended period in a new environment would ensure there is no drop-off in the intensity of the squad’s training.

“It’s a really exciting opportunity for the Jayco Opals to have a training camp on the Gold Coast,” Joyce said.

“By changing up the environment as part of our preparations for the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women we can keep things fresh and keep the players engaged through this period of the campaign.

“We’re in a really fortunate position to be coming to the Gold Coast: we get to bring the players into an environment where the climate is great for recovery, the facilities are world class and to a region that loves basketball.”

City of Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said he was thrilled to be hosting the Jayco Opals in the city for their World Championship preparations.

“With basketball a key Commonwealth Games sport, we will have new facilities to support elite teams like the Opals,” he said.

Mayor Tate said he knew the players would be doing intensive training each day, but that he hoped they would get the opportunity to enjoy our beaches and experience our unique lifestyle.

“Our message to top level teams is simple – you can come here to train in world class sporting facilities and have a great time in our world class city,” he said.

“It’s about laying out the red carpet and laying down the gauntlet to our competitors – we’re aiming to be the number one training destination in Australia.”

The squad again boasts a strong youth presence, including eight players under the age of 24, with Canberra Capitals centre Alex Bunton making the most of her opportunity at last month’s camp.

A late inclusion for the CoE camp, the 20-year-old impressed the Jayco Opals coaching staff enough to earn a place in the squad for the Gold Coast.

Joyce said the quality and energy of the young talent left him with no choice but to include them for the Gold Coast camp.

“The decisions were tough to make, but everyone who has been included for the Gold Coast camp has been so for a reason,” Joyce said.

“Particularly with the young players we see a lot of potential and certainly the door is open for them to make the world championship team.”

The Jayco Opals frontcourt stocks received another boost, with Bendigo Spirit star Gabrielle Richards (injury) and Dandenong Rangers young gun Lauren Scherf (school commitments) returning.

The Jayco Opals will spend six days on the Gold Coast from 13-18 April courtesy of the generous support of the City of Gold Coast Council and QT Hotel Gold Coast.

Jayco Australian Opals April Training Camp Squad – Gold Coast

Rebecca Allen               Melbourne Boomers

Alex Bunton                   Canberra Capitals

Natalie Burton                West Coast Waves

Elizabeth Cambage      Beijing Bulls (China)

Stephanie Cumming     Townsville Fire

Katie-Rae Ebzery          Sydney Uni Flames

Jessica Foley                Adelaide Lightning

Laura Hodges                Adelaide Lightning

Natalie Hurst                  Canberra Capitals/Canik BLD (Turkey)

Alice Kunek                    Dandenong Rangers

Tess Madgen                 Melbourne Boomers

Rachael McCully           Townsville Fire

Carley Mijovic                Canberra Capitals

Leilani Mitchell               Dandenong Rangers

Erin Phillips                    Phoenix Mercury (WNBA)

Gabrielle Richards        Bendigo Spirit

Lauren Scherf                Dandenong Rangers

Jennifer Screen             Adelaide Lightning

Penny Taylor                 Phoenix Mercury (WNBA)

Kelly Wilson                   Bendigo Spirit