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Comm Gold awaits Opals, Boomers

BASKETBALL Australia today announced its national teams for the sport's return to the 2018 Commonwealth Games, veterans Brad Newley and Belinda Snell selected to defend Golds won in 2006.

That was the last time the Comm Games were held in Australia and the last time basketball was a competitive sport within the event.

Both Newley and Snell, multiple Olympians playing for Sydney’s Kings and Flames respectively, were key players as the Boomers and Opals wound their ways to the top of the medal dais 12 years ago.

“To be named to pull on the green-and-gold in a month’s time is truly special,” Newley said.

FLASHBACK: Brad Newley's introduction ahead of the 2006 Comm Games Gold Medal Final.

“We have seen the strength of these players throughout the NBL season this year and I believe we will all work together strongly in April.

"A Games on home soil is a great thing. I got to experience it in Melbourne in 2006 but I know all the boys are looking forward to it.”

Bound for Game 2 in their classic semi final series in Perth on Friday, the Adelaide 36ers and Wildcats both boast the greatest Boomers’ representation, with three selections apiece.

Mitch Creek, Matt Hodgson and Nathan Sobey for the Sixers, join Perth’s Angus Brandt, Damian Martin and Jesse Wagstaff in the quest for Commonwealth Gold … right after they try to finish each other off at The Jungle.

Rio Olympian Chris Goulding, the only player already into the Grand Final Series with Melbourne United, also returns to the Australian team.

Liz Cambage returns to an Opals lineup minus six-time WNBL MVP Suzy Batkovic, who chose to be unavailable. (Whether she still makes a run at a medal as her international swansong with the Opals at the 2018 FIBA World Cup, remains to be seen.)

The FIBA Asia Cup MVP and All Star Five selection Kelsey Griffin will have the opportunity to represent her adopted country on home soil, Jenna O’Hea also back in favour after years in the wilderness under the Opals’ previous structure.

Adelaide Lightning MVP Nicole Seekamp and the WNBL’s Rookie of the Year, Ezi Magbegor, both make their Opals debuts in what should be the start of long stays in the green-and-gold.

BOOMERS: Angus Brandt (Perth Wildcats), Jason Cadee (Sydney Kings), Mitchell Creek (Adelaide 36ers), Cameron Gliddon (Cairns Taipans), Chris Goulding (Melbourne United), Matthew Hodgson (Adelaide 36ers), Nick Kay (Illawarra Hawks), Daniel Kickert (Brisbane Bullets), Damian Martin (Perth Wildcats), Brad Newley (Sydney Kings), Nathan Sobey (Adelaide 36ers), Jesse Wagstaff (Perth Wildcats). Coach: Andrej Lemanis (Brisbane Bullets). 

OPALS: Steph Blicavs (Dandenong Rangers), Liz Cambage (Melbourne Boomers), Katie-Rae Ebzery (Sydney Uni Flames), Cayla George (Townsville Fire), Kelsey Griffin (Bendigo Spirit), Alice Kunek (Perth Lynx), Tessa Lavey (Dandenong Rangers), Ezi Magbegor (Canberra Capitals), Jenna O’Hea (Melbourne Boomers), Nicole Seekamp (Adelaide Lightning), Belinda Snell (Pictured above - Sydney Uni Flames), Stephanie Talbot (Gorzów Wielkopolski). Coach: Sandra Brondello (Phoenix Mercury).

CELEBRATING 2006: CJ Bruton (now a Boomers assistant) and Mark Worthington celebrate claiming Gold at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Mar 7

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