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On This Day: April 7, 2015

THE Commonwealth Games are on in earnest, a fitting day to revisit April 7 of three years back when Australia's cross-Tasman rival New Zealand added Adelaide Lightning coach Chris Lucas to its Tall Ferns' coaching panel - On This Day...

TOWNSVILLE Fire’s WNBL championship-winning coach, Chris Lucas, has joined New Zealand’s national women’s coaching staff as an assistant to Tall Ferns head coach Kennedy Kereama.

Lucas previously assisted Opals coach Jan Stirling in their silver medal success at the 2004 Athens Olympics and has been part of numerous Australian junior programs.

Most recently, Lucas coached the Australian Sapphires (under-17s) at their world championship before steering Townsville to its maiden WNBL crown.

“Chris has a decorated career as a coach in the women’s game and will add considerable experience and expertise to our group for the 2015 campaign,” Kereama said.

“For us to entice a coach of his standing is a real coup for the Tall Ferns program.

“He will bring a wealth of knowledge to the group and enormous respect from the players as we look to continue to build upon our work in recent years to elevate the Tall Ferns program and build the skill level and profile of our players.”

New Zealand will face Australia in a two-game Oceania qualifying series in August with the winner automatically into the Rio Olympic Games.

The Opals-Tall Ferns series will be part of a double-header at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena with the Boomers-Tall Blacks.

As bronze medallists at last year’s FIBA Women’s World Championship, the Opals will start favourites to sweep New Zealand, and by a substantial amount.

The loser of the series still can qualify for Rio.

Boomers, Opals off to flyers

Apr 7

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