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This year’s WNBL Championship will feature the almost entirely Australian Olympic Opal team led by WNBA star Liz Kampag as they compete for 12 locations in the Tokyo Games team
Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions in Australia, all eight WNBL teams will play the entire season over a six-week period at North Queensland Center via Cairns, Townsville and McKay
The WNBL Qualifiers will take place December 16-20, with Kayo and Foxtel broadcasting the Finals live, however your subscription (Masthead Announcement) will include replays shortly after the matches are over.
The prospect of shortening the North Queensland WNBL season has prompted some players to question whether the 2020 campaign is worth the sacrifice.
But for Perth Lynx manager Ryan Petrick, the six-week season on the offshore coast of Australia proved the perfect lure to bring back superstar Kayla Stindel again.
Steindl, a three-time QBL Championship winner with the Mackay Meteorettes, was all set to call the time in her WNBL career after she and her husband Clint welcomed her son Noah to the world in February of this year.
« Ryan asked me earlier in the winter if I wanted to play and at that point I didn’t want to spend much time away from being with Noah – being a mother, » Stendel said.
Instead, the 30-year-old was happy to practice her trade in the WA State League where, less than eight months after giving birth, she starred as Joondalup Wolves in the West Coast Classic Final.
Steindl was named MVP in the Grand Final in a 72-54 win over Perry Lakes Hawks in late September
« I knew I wanted to play in the state league, » said Stindel, « This was my goal after Noah. »
Then came the news that North Queensland could be the home of WNBL’s intense 2020 season
With the family still at McKay and the new season in six weeks, Stendel was suddenly happy to entertain the idea of returning to Lynx.
Things changed in Perth and he asked again, « We’re going to Mackay, to Cairns and Townsville, » so I thought completely, I can’t afford to miss this opportunity, »
And so it turned out that Noah’s proud grandparents were there to meet him at the gates of Mackay Airport earlier this week, and Stendel was able to work to prepare for the WNBL campaign she’d never imagined happening.
She said, « I wasn’t expecting to return to MacKay for a long time, especially playing with Perth Linux. »
« It was really cool, surreal pretty like everyone else, (I wasn’t) really sure when I’ll be able to see the family again during this wild year
Clearly very unexpected but really excited to be here and look forward to playing WNBL again.
And while the grueling of at least 14 games in an odd 30 days would be a physical test unlike any of these players I’ve encountered before, Steindl has embraced coordination as a way to bring her love of family and basketball together on the court. She knows everything very well
She said, « Obviously many games in a shorter period of time are not perfect, but being in a place where there is a family and a lot of help made that possible. »
As for Lynx’s prospects this season, Steindl is quietly confident in the roster and order that coach Petrik has managed to put together in no time.
« Obviously, we don’t have the full list we expected to bring in, » said Stindel, « but Ryan has brought in some great people and great players. »
“We are very fortunate to be in Australia and have had as much time on the field as we wanted in those five weeks
« (I am) looking forward to playing with Lynx and (in) the new system that Ryan is bringing in. »
Steindl and Lynx open their WNBL campaign at Mackay Basketball Stadium against JCU Fire tonight, tip off 7 p.m.
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National Women’s Basketball League, Perth Links, Townsville Fire, Kayla Stindle, MacKay, University of Canberra Capitals, Bendigo Spirit, Clint Stindel, Lauren Nicholson, Adelaide Lightning
World News – Australia – Replay: Townsville takes over Perth with the outbreak of WNBL
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