REPLAY: Townsville takes on Perth as WNBL fires up
Your News Corp subscription now includes blockbuster Women's National Basketball League games live streamed during the 2020 season.
In addition to award-winning local, national and international news and the best sports coverage your digital subscription will allow you to watch the country's top female basketball players competing in one best professional leagues in the world.
This year's WNBL will showcase almost the entire Australian Opals Olympic squad headlined by WNBA superstar Liz Cambage as they battle for the 12 spots on the Tokyo Games team.
Due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions in Australia, all eight WNBL teams to play the entire season over a six week period in a North Queensland hub across Cairns, Townsville and Mackay.
Tonight's offering features Townsville Fire v Perth Lynx, with tip-off at 7pm (AEDT
WATCH IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE
2020 Australian Opals Olympic Squad members playing in the WNBL
Sara Blicavs - Southside Flyers
Liz Cambage - Southside Flyers
Rebecca Cole - Southside Flyers
Katie-Rae Ebzery - Perth Lynx
Darcee Garbin - JCU Townsville Fire
Cayla George - Deakin Melbourne Boomers
Kelsey Griffin - University of Canberra Capitals
Tessa Lavey - Bendigo Spirit
Tess Madgen - JCU Townsville Fire
Ezi Magbegor - Deakin Melbourne Boomers
Leilani Mitchell - Southside Flyers
Lauren Nicholson - Adelaide Lightning
Jenna O'Hea - Southside Flyers
Nicole Seekamp - Adelaide Lightning
Stephanie Talbot - Adelaide Lightning
Marianna Tolo - University of Canberra Capitals
The WNBL playoffs will be held from December 16-20 with Kayo and Foxtel broadcasting the finals live, however, your (masthead) subscription will include the replays soon after games finish.
Mackay's Kayla Steindl to star for Perth Lynx tonight
THE PROSPECT of a shortened WNBL season in a north Queensland hub had some players questioning whether a 2020 campaign might be worth the many sacrifices.
But for Perth Lynx coach Ryan Petrik, a six-week season on the opposite coast of Australia proved the perfect lure to bring back star forward Kayla Steindl for one more go around.
Steindl, a three-time QBL winner with the Mackay Meteorettes, was all but ready to call time on her WNBL career after she and husband Clint welcomed son Noah into the world in February this year.
"I had been asked earlier in the winter by Ryan if I wanted to play and at that point I didn't want to take that much time away from being with Noah - being a mum," Steindl said.
The 30 year old was instead happy to ply her trade in the WA state league where, less than eight months after giving birth, she starred for the Joondalup Wolves in the West Coast Classic grand final.
Steindl was named grand final MVP in the 72-54 win over Perry Lakes Hawks in late September.
"I knew I wanted to play state league. That was my aim after having Noah," Steindl said.
Then came the news that north Queensland might be home to a condensed 2020 WNBL season.
With family still in Mackay and the season run-and-done inside six weeks, Steindl was suddenly happy to entertain the idea of returning to the Lynx.
"Things changed in Perth and he asked again. He said 'we're going to Mackay, to Cairns and Townsville' so I thought absolutely, I can't miss out on that opportunity," she said.
And so it came to be that Noah's proud grandparents were there to meet him at the gates at Mackay Airport earlier this week, and Steindl was able to get to work preparing for a WNBL campaign she never envisaged would happen.
"I didn't expect to be back in Mackay for a long time, especially playing for the Perth Lynx," she said.
"It was really awesome. Pretty surreal. Like everyone else, (I wasn't) really sure when I would get to see family again through this wild year.
"It's overwhelming and emotional and awesome, so (I'm) just really happy we get this opportunity.
"Very unexpected obviously but really excited to be here and looking forward to playing WNBL again."
And though the rigours of at minimum 14 games in 30-odd days will pose a physical test unlike any these players have had to face before, Steindl has embraced the format as a way to combine her love for family and basketball together, on a court she knows all too well.
"Obviously as many games in a shorter amount of time isn't ideal, but being where there's family and lots of help made it possible," she said.
As for the Lynx's prospects this season, Steindl is quietly confident in the roster and system that coach Petrik has managed to pull together on short notice.
"Obviously we don't have the full roster we expected to come over with but Ryan has brought in some awesome people and great players," Steindl said.
"We're pretty lucky to be in WA and have as much time on court as we wanted in those five weeks.
"(I'm) looking forward to playing for the Lynx and (in) the new system that Ryan brings in."
Steindl and the Lynx open their WNBL campaign at Mackay Basketball Stadium against JCU Fire tonight. Tip-off is at 7pm.