The Seven Consulting Opals have today converged at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra, as their first training camp for the year gets underway.
The extended squad, which features both returning Opals and emerging talent, will be a chance for Head Coach, Sandy Brondello, to see the new squad in action for the first time – with the 2023 FIBA Women’s Asia Cup and the 2024 Paris Olympics on the horizon.
“I want to see the young talent, I watch them obviously in WNBL, but I want the opportunity to coach them one on one to see where their skill level is at,” Brondello told BA media.
“I love the athleticism of the young players coming through, it will be really interesting to see how they go against the established Opals.”
Fresh off the back of a WNBL Championship, Steph Reid, Lauren Nicholson, Zitina Aokuso and Shyla Heal will look to keep their good form rolling.
While emerging talents, Isobel Borlase, Nyadiew Puoch, Chloe Bibby, Amy Atwell and Shaneice Swain will be experiencing the Opals environment for the first time.
Another exciting up-and-comer, Jade Melbourne, returns to the Opals fold and will continue to develop her game before jetting off to commence her first season in the WNBA for Seattle Storm in May.
“We have to qualify for Paris and the Asia Cup is really important for us. We have to put the best team on the court that we have available, eight of our players will go off to the WNBA and will most likely not be available, so a great opportunity for some of our young players to step up,” said Brondello.
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“There is so much to like about the quality of athletes we currently have to choose from and it’s going to be a really tough call to make for Paris 2024 but it’s a great problem to have,” said Brondello.
The camp takes place at the AIS National Training Centre from March 31 – April 5.
The FIBA Women’s Asia Cup will be held in Sydney from 26 June – 2 July.