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Murray MIA from Opals squad


THERE remains one glaring omission from the excellent Opals squad ahead of this year's Commonwealth Games in Queensland.

(And it's not the obvious Sara Blicavs, who is on the recovery road from an ACL tear, actually making her omission common sense.)

But Mia Murray's continued absence appears an ongoing oversight as the talented (and reliable) small forward is now a three-time WNBL champion at Townsville Fire and a Rachael Sporn Medallist as a Grand Final Series MVP.

You surely cannot do much better than be the Most Valuable Player on the league's grandest stage and when the Fire won it all in 2015 for the first time, it was the 184cm forward who stood up, and out.

In a blistering performance against the Fire's nemesis Bendigo Spirit, she hit a Final-high 23 points at 50 per cent, including 3-of-5 threes, with seven rebounds and three assists.

Of course, she was never a contender for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games team but she was no orphan there, the ability to discern genuine international talent from whimsical personal follies sadly impaired by coaching ego and Basketball Australia high performance department indifference.

Murray, 29, first burst into the WNBL in 2006 with the AIS, then after two years there, returned to her home town and Adelaide Lightning. Playing for Lightning from 2008-11, in 2010 Murray's outstanding leadership abilities were recognised and at just 22, she became the iconic club's youngest captain.

Since Murray (nee Newley) arrived in Townsville in 2011, the Fire have contested seven straight playoffs, five grand finals and won three championships.

It's a pretty special personal record.

A versatile player who works at both ends of the floor, it is her ability to spread the court courtesy of her 3-point shooting prowess which also makes various offensive strategies possible. These days though, her consistent omission from Opals squads makes it almost passe.

But that doesn't make it right.

At official FIBA events, Murray represented Australia at the 2007 World Youth Championship in Bratislava, Slovak Republic, and at World University Games in 2009 and again in 2011, she was a key member of Australia's Bronze Medal-winning teams.

The recent addition to the current Opals squad of her Townsville teammate and 2017 World Uni Games Gold Medal star Darcee Garbin, shows the Fire have been on the radar of national coach Sandy Brondello.

The new coach, who instils confidence with her composed and organised methodology, already has stayed true to her word by adding players such as Aimie Clydesdale, Nicole Seekamp, Sami Whitcomb and most recently Garbin to her initial squad.

The absence of Murray's name means one international quality Aussie still is flying under the radar.

It's way beyond high time that oversight was corrected.

The squad is: Rebecca Allen (Lyon- France), Suzy Batkovic (JCU Townsville Fire), Abby Bishop (MAC Adelaide Lightning), Stephanie Blicavs (Jayco Dandenong Rangers), Elizabeth Cambage (Deakin Melbourne Boomers), Aimie Clydesdale (MAC Adelaide Lightning), Katie-Rae Ebzery (Brydens Sydney Uni Flames), Darcee Garbin (JCU Townsville Fire), Cayla George (JCU Townsville Fire), *Kelsey Griffin (Bendigo Bank Spirit), Natalie Hurst (University of Canberra Capitals), Alice Kunek (Perth Lynx), Tessa Lavey (Jayco Dandenong Rangers), Ezi Magbegor (University of Canberra Capitals), Lauren Mansfield (Energa Torun - Poland), *Leilani Mitchell (Hatay - Turkey), Jenna O’Hea (Deakin Melbourne Boomers), Nicole Seekamp (MAC Adelaide Lightning), Belinda Snell (Brydens Sydney Uni Flames), Stephanie Talbot (Mondeville - France), Marianna Tolo (Abdullah Gul - Turkey), *Sami Whicomb (Perth Lynx). {*Denotes naturalised players}

OVERDUE: Mia Murray's ability to go to the next level has for too long been overlooked.

Jan 30

Content, unless otherwise indicated, is © copyright Boti Nagy.