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Rd.4 WNBL: Now is the time


ROUND 4 of the Chemist Warehouse WNBL season usually is when the pieces start falling into place and form starts to settle.

Over the season's first three rounds, it has been impossible to find a fixed form line for any team, although our suspicions Canberra and Melbourne would be contenders definitely is starting to bear fruit

Townsville remains enigmatic and perhaps the loss to temporary - at least we hope temporary - retirement of Mia Murray has hit harder than anticipated.

Bendigo and Dandenong have looked both good and bad, Sydney's early demise has been something of a shock, Adelaide definitely is growing - the addition of Kayla Alexander a big help - and Perth quickly has shaken off a shaky start.

SORRY: Chris Lucas apologises to Kayla Alexander for the refereeing. Pic Mandy Heddewick

Now we've seen our share of topsy-turvy results, it all soon should start to make sense. That said, if Sydney is 0-6 after this round, a distinct possibility, it could be the first club out of playoff contention.

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WNBL ROUND 4

Perth at Sydney

 V 

THE round tips off early with winless Sydney desperately needing to break its drought by taking a win off incoming Perth. The Lynx have fought their way to top spot on a league-best three-win streak and under normal circumstances, should get this one. Opals starter Katie-Rae Ebzery and super-talented import Asia Taylor will be seeking big games in their former stomping ground but Flames veteran Belinda Snell is the key. If she is back from injury, expect an inspired Sydney to catch the Lynx. If she remains sidelined, Perth steals the W. {Match on FOX SPORTS}

THE REST OF ROUND 4

Melbourne at Dandenong

HAVE the Boomers started to find their new identity? Tough road wins over Sydney and Canberra (plus the refs - come on now, 40-18 foul disparity?), suggest Guy Molloy's crew is beginning to find the sync necessary to be a leading championship contender. Dandenong already has surprised with its newfound confidence and the form of players such as Bec Cole and bona fide star Betnijah Laney. But last week's 25-point home loss to Perth suggests it's the Boomers to bound away. {Catch this on SBS free-to-air, or FOX as well.}

Adelaide at Bendigo

THAT was quite a statement win last Sunday by Adelaide at home over Bendigo, steadily turning the contest from a bout into a rout. The Spirit heavily will focus on Nia Coffey  whose 20-rebound (21-point) haul was like something from a bygone era. Lightning successfully reduced the impact of players such as Rebecca Tobin, Nat Hurst and Abbie Wehrung. After halftime, Adelaide also shut down Nadeen Payne. How Bendigo copes with those strategies, or counters them, falls to  Simon Pritchard as Adelaide has to feel good about that performance and in its ability to repeat the win. {Check this one out at FOX}

REMATCH: Steph Blicavs to the hoop last week against Bendigo. Pic via Mandy Hedderwick.

Perth at Townsville

STUNNING defending champion Townsville with a high-scoring 98-88 win in Perth in Round 2, the Lynx will find the Fire a much more formidable proposition in north Queensland. That said, it did take everything the Fire had to stave off a depleted Sydney by three, and pinch-hitting coach Mark Wrobel Claudia Brassard is away with BA's Under-19 team - has found himself out of the frying pan and well into the fire, so to speak. If Perth's shooters get rolling though, Lauren Mansfield will find them, and her settling in also releases  Katie-Rae Ebzery to the two. Why not Perth to win?

Sydney at Canberra

THE Caps whipped Sydney in Sydney by 19 to open Season 2018-19, and that was before Leilani Mitchell even suited for Canberra. Kia Nurse is a megastar and with the Flames struggling to register a W, it is difficult to picture them suddenly turning form on its head in the nation's capital against arguably the current #1 team in the WNBL. If Sydney did get Perth's scalp earlier in the round, it assuredly will be feeling a little better about life. But Canberra has so many other weapons such as Kelsey Griffin, Kelly Wilson, Lauren Scherf and Maddi Rocci, this very much looks a home win.

Bendigo at Melbourne

THE round concludes Monday night with Melbourne's now traditional Melbourne Cup Eve contest, and what a big one it should be with Bendigo back at the State Basketball Centre. The Spirit were there in Round 1 as well and came away with a delightful 82-72 win - well, delightful for Spirit fans. That was something of a shock for the Boomers and an aberration they aim to fix before the nation stops to pay attention. Marena Whittle, with 21 points, was the Spirit's surprise X-Factor but the Boomers will be better prepared this time. Former Boomer Louella Tomlinson missed that game and adds a different element for Bendigo. Melbourne's depth should be the key. {Live on FOX SPORTS}

SPIRITED: Jenna O'Hea puts it on the floor against Marena Whittle. Pic via Michelle Couling.

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SUZY Batkovic  in her spare time...

"So the airline hostess says: 'Would you care for an orange?' and I say: 'If it needed me'... Yeah, that's right, I'm here all week folks, and with an extra matinee Saturday."

Nov 1

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