Written by Megan Hustwaite.
Earlier this week O’Hea was announced as the first signing for the rebranded Dandenong Rangers, who under new license holder Ryan will now be known as the Southside Flyers, as the powerhouse aims to tap further into its massive basketball catchment area.
The 31-year-old two-time WNBL champion says she can hardly wait for an exciting new chapter in #WNBL20.
“I’ve known Gerry for a long time through the Rangers and the Opals so when I found out he was taking over the licence of the team it was something I wanted to be involved in,’’ O’Hea told Basketball Australia.
“When you think of sport in Australia and pioneers of women’s sport in Australia you think of Gerry Ryan, so with his experience and knowledge I’m excited to be part of the first Flyers team.
“I love Cheryl (Flyers coach Cheryl Chambers) we’ve got to know each other better through the Opals where she’s an assistant coach and I’m really excited to be coached by her and with the signings we’ve got to be announced I’m just rapt with the team we’ve put together.”
O’Hea moved on from Melbourne Boomers after two seasons as captain, noting ‘everything happens for a reason and I’m excited with where I am right now with my life, signing with this team – it’s good.’
The Flyers will maintain strong links to the Rangers and continue to play out of Dandenong Stadium. Stud Road is the scene of some very fond memories for O’Hea who played with the Rangers over two stints and was influential in their last championship in 2011-12, over the Boomers.
“I had two years at Dandenong after the AIS, then I went overseas, to the Boomers then the Rangers for a couple of years. Obviously, the championship was the highlight in 2012, but there’s lots of great memories,’’ she says.
“Now, there’s history with the roots there but it’s also an exciting venture with the new Southside Flyers name and franchise.”
O’Hea was a notable absentee from Opals camp which wrapped up in Phoenix this week as she recovers from bone bruising ahead of a jam-packed international schedule in the lead up to the Tokyo Olympics.
“Slowly things are coming along and my goal is obviously starting (WNBL) pre-season. Asia Cup is in September, I’m hoping to be 100 per cent by then so we can go away and do really well leading into the tournaments we’ve got, following that leading up to the Olympics,’’ she said.
“It was hard being in Australia while the girls were at camp, it’s so great when the group gets together, I had a lot of FOMO (fear of missing out) back here.
“It’s a big year ahead and we’re all trying to be as heathy as we can and ready to go for all the lead-in tournaments and of course Tokyo as well."