Do-or-die for Flyers as Fire look to win it all

GAME TWO of the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL)’s Grand Final series is set to take place on Wednesday night, with the Southside Flyers looking to keep their season alive with a win over the Townsville Fire.

The Fire currently have the advantage, having taken a 1-0 series lead with an emphatic victory in the opening clash between these two sides. The ladder-leaders looked at the top of their game in that outing, and Southside will need to bring something special to cause an upset and keep its title hopes going.

However, the battle returns to the Flyers’ domain in game two, with Southside looking to use this to its advantage, and force a deciding third match.

Southside Flyers vs. Townsville Fire

Wednesday, March 22 @6:30pm
State Basketball Centre

The WNBL season could come to a close tonight if the Fire can produce a second straight win over the Flyers, which would see them crowned champions for the 2022/23 season.

Game one saw Townsville deliver a commanding performance, completely outperforming the Flyers and dismantling one of its biggest title threats. The Fire took control of the contest from the outset, never giving the opposition a chance to work their way into the game.

One of Townsville’s biggest strengths is its ability to start the game strong, so a big key for the Flyers’ chances will be how well they can nullify that. If it cannot clamp up defensively given the strength and depth of the opposition’s roster, Southside will need to at least match the output on the offensive end.

In terms of key players for the Flyers, look no further than Sara Blicavs, who has the capability to step up and turn a game on its head for her side. She was Southside’s most consistent performer in the semi-finals, and has the ability to fight through tough defence to still find the bottom of the net. While she was involved in game one, her impact was not as prominent, so she should have a bigger role tonight.

The Fire have plenty of capable contributors, which is also one of their biggest weapons. In game one, it was Shyla Heal that fired for Townsville with 23 points on 9/10 shooting. While she could replicate that performance, it could be one of a number of players that step up, which is what makes them the championship favourites. Look for the likes of Tianna Hawkins, Karlie Samuelson and Stephanie Reid to fire off some early shots and lead the Fire offence.

Shyla Heal in game one of the Grand Final. Photo: Emily Barker/Getty Images

These two sides clashed in 2020’s Grand Final, with the Flyers securing the ultimate prize thanks to a 17-point triumph. Southside will be eager to repeat this result, but will need to halter a Townsville side that is in the midst of a 15-game winning streak.

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