UC Capitals Vs Jayco Dandenong at Southern Cross Club stadium Tuggeranong. Capitals coach Paul Goriss. Photo Elesa KurtzThe Canberra Capitals will have to beat two WNBL title favourites and a hectic travel schedule to stamp themselves as genuine championship contenders this weekend.
The Capitals will spend more time in airports and on planes than they do on the court this week when they travel 5000 kilometres for two games.
The first is a clash against the Townsville Fire in far-north Queensland on Friday night before backing up against the Melbourne Boomers in Canberra a day later.
It’s part of a hectic 14-hour travel schedule as the Capitals face their first road-trip test of a reformatted WNBL season full of double-header weekends and more travel.
It means while the Capitals are flying back home, the Boomers will already be in Canberra planning their hit-and-run mission at the National Convention Centre on Sunday.
“With the league being so short, it’s what every team has to do,” said Capitals vice-captain Kate Gaze.
“We just have to get used to it, deal with it and get on with it. It’s a great challenge for us.
“If we can beat that challenge on the road and when we travel, it will beneficial at the end of the year. It’s a brand new league this year … we’re all trying to be professional and if this is what we have to do, bring it on.”
The Capitals started their campaign with back to back wins against the Bendigo Spirit and Adelaide Lightning last weekend.
But the Fire and Boomers loom as a massive early-season test given they’re regarded as the championship favourites.
The Fire boast veteran Suzy Batkovic while the Boomers have recruited 203 centimetre star Elizabeth Cambage.
Batkovic and Cambage are set for a showdown with Canberra’s United States import, Mistie Bass.
Capitals coach Paul Goriss has adjusted his side’s training schedule to accommodate for time on the road, with the team to leave Canberra at midday on Thursday and return at 5pm on Saturday.
“We’ve got to take the mindset that there are no excuses,” Goriss said.
“Everyone is going to have to deal with the travel schedule and back to back games. It’s not ideal going up to Townsville for a game and having to come back because it such a long way to go.
“But to me there are no excuses, we march on. Our depth is one of our strengths this season, that will help with recovery time. I’m happy to throw any body out there at any point of the game.
“We’ve outscored both of our opponents so far this season with ‘depth points’ from the bench, which highlights the depth we have.”
WNBL ROUND TWO
Friday: Townsville Fire v Canberra Capitals at Townsville Stadium, 8pm.
Sunday: Canberra Capitals v Melbourne Boomers at National Convention Centre, 3pm.