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Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald
Josh Callinan

McSpadden fit and firing ahead of seventh WNBL season

Newcastle's Lara McSpadden playing WNBL for the Townsville Fire. Picture AAP

Newcastle's Lara McSpadden has declared herself "the fittest I've ever been" ahead of another WNBL campaign with the Townsville Fire.

Approaching her seventh season in the national league, and third up north in Queensland, the Falcons product feels "confident" with the work she's put in and refreshed after spending time at home recently.

"I feel really confident and know I've put in a lot of work, especially while I was at home after the [NBL1] season finished," McSpadden told the Newcastle Herald.

"I feel the fittest I've ever been, which is always good heading into a season. I don't really have any injuries or niggles going on.

"I'm excited to see what the season looks like and just play my role, doing whatever the team needs really."

The 23-year-old Townsville centre joins the Fire for Sunday's season opener at home against the Canberra-based UC Capitals.

It's the first of four straight games in Townsville, which features clashes with Australian basketball legend Lauren Jackson (Southside Flyers on November 16) and fellow Hunters product Cassidy McLean (Bendigo Spirit on December 2).

McSpadden says Jackson's presence and the Opals' recent World Cup bronze in Australia will be influential factors for the WNBL during 2022-23.

"We've got some pretty big names in the league this year, Lauren Jackson playing for Southside Flyers in pretty huge," she said.

"Having a World Cup in Australia is probably going to bring more air time to WNBL, which is really good for the league and for girls who want to come into the league as well."

McSpadden is confident the Fire can rebound this season, having missed the top four last campaign after featuring in a COVID-condensed decider at the end of 2020.

"I think we're going to have a really tough team this year. Our imports are fit and healthy and so is the rest of the squad," she said.

"We're pretty deep and even our development players have multiple years of WNBL experience."

Townsville are again coached by former Falcons mentor Shannon Seebohm while Newcastle basketball legend Suzy Batkovic recently joined the Fire staff in a specialist role.

McLean's Bendigo have allocated Sunday's first home game against Perth to raise funds and host flood victims, backing up from Friday's fixture with the Capitals in Canberra.

Jackson's Southside host Adelaide on Saturday night.

Sami Whitcomb scored 30 points and had seven rebounds but Perth went down 104-88 against the visiting Melbourne Boomers on Wednesday.

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