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Tess to lead Opals' Cup charge

TOKYO Olympian Tess Madgen - one of a couple of fairly notable absentees from the ill-fated Rio Olympic team - today was named captain of the Opals for their charge at the FIBA World Cup and restoration of Australia's international reputation and once much-admired culture.

Opals coach Sandy Brondello informed Madgen of her success today at the team's camp at Gold Coast, an emotional Madgen calling on her teammates to continue to "do what you've been doing" while promising to be the best leader she could be.

Madgen, 32, made her senior national debut in 2011 at the FIBA Oceania Championship and since has played 65 internationals in the green-and-gold.

After the heartbreak of her Rio Olympic non-selection, the South Australian junior forced her way into the Opals team for its 2018 tilt at the FIBA World Cup and came home with a Silver Medal.

Selected for the Tokyo Olympics last year, she continued her great form in the WNBL as her Melbourne Boomers won the 2022 championship.

“This is a proud moment for Tess,” Brondello said.

“Not everyone gets to captain their country so I’m happy for her and I know that she’ll do a great job in Sydney.

“The culture work that we’ve done has been so important to the team and Tess has been a big part of that.

“She has the respect from her peers, she fills whatever is required from the team and that shows a lot about the person she is.”

The announcement had special meaning for her Melbourne Boomers championship teammate Cayla George. Both played their junior careers at the Mount Barker-based Eastern Mavericks Basketball Club in SA.

“I’m not the person and player I am without Tess Madgen,” George said. “I’ve known her for over two decades, we’ve got a very close relationship so it couldn’t have gone to anyone more deserving than ‘Madg’. I’m really proud of her.”

The Opals spend the rest of the week at the Gold Coast before heading to Sydney for the FIBA World Cup, which tips off a fortnight from today.

Australia has drawn top 10 national teams France (6), Serbia (10), Japan (8) and Canada (4), plus Mali (37) in Group B. Group A comprises Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, China, Korea, Puerto Rico, USA.

“We (the leadership group) wanted to lead by empowering everyone to be a leader and that’s something I’m extremely passionate about," Madgen told her team.

“I’m going to be the best captain I can be, it’s a huge honour and I’m really overwhelmed. I love the team, let’s do this.”

Sep 8

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