Wise words: Captain reflects on new state league pressure
BASKETBALL: Having played at national league level, Bree Farley knows all about pressure on the court.
She's shared in plenty of high-intensity, physical encounters over the years.
However, the experienced Ipswich Force captain accepts this year's state league team has struggled to maintain its best form at key times.
"That consistency is something that we've been striving for,'' Farley said, preparing for Saturday afternoon's match against North Gold Coast at Runaway Bay.
"Early in the season, its been a bit up and down.
"We've had a reasonably good patch in the middle there. We're just trying to get back to that as soon as possible.''
Although Force is still well placed in third with eight wins and four losses, Farley said Ipswich was aware the higher expectations had altered this year. The Force women finished the regular season in second last year.
"Instead of being underdogs every day, we've been sometimes the favourites to win the game,'' she said.
In her fifth season with Force, the former Australian Institute of Sport basketballer said it had taken time for this year's combination to adjust after some valuable off-season recruits joined the team.
"Just having some new players in, it changes everybody's role that little bit,'' she said.
"We also had some amazing games and then we've had some pretty average games.
"It seems to be that often we've all been firing on the same night or all been playing poorly the same night.
"We really need to kind of manage that better, and make sure if some of us are having a poor night, then other people need to step up and take on that responsibility.''
But they are not the only factors challenging Ipswich to keep pace with the Queensland Basketball League's pacesetters.
"Each year the quality of players in the league is improving so even though we're getting better as a team so is the league,'' Farley, 28, said.
"Every game is still a tough game regardless of which team you play.''
Force are currently at the top of several teams within a win or two of dramatically rising up the table.
That is why Saturday's match is so important, especially with Farley's former SEQ Stars national league teammate Amy Lewis overseas.
"She's a quality player and a very experienced player so everyone will need to step up and fill that spot,'' the skipper said.
Working as an occupational therapist for Blue Care, Farley still wears a protective face mask in games.
The personable leader broke her nose four times between 2010 and when she joined the Force program in 2015.
She was pleased to see former Ipswich and current Capitals player Stacey Howard wearing a similar mask in last weekend's encounter.
"We had a bit of a giggle (about that),'' Farley said.
Meanwhile, Force scoring ace Amanda "AJ'' Johnson was focusing on her recovery again this week after struggling with back soreness in recent games.
Force head coach Brad George said young guns Catherine Macgregor and Grace Ellis were back in the Force squad this weekend.
The Ipswich Force men play North Gold Coast in Saturday night's 7pm match.
QBL Rd 11: Saturday - Ipswich Force v North Gold Coast at Runaway Bay. Women's game at 5pm with men at 7pm.