Garbin to chase Opals dream with blessing of Rockingham Flames

Stuart HortonSound Telegraph
Darcee Garbin will meet up with the Australian Opals for a selection camp in Phoenix, Arizona in late July.
Camera IconDarcee Garbin will meet up with the Australian Opals for a selection camp in Phoenix, Arizona in late July. Credit: Stuart Horton

Star Rockingham Flames recruit Darcee Garbin will swap orange and black for green and gold at the end of July after today being named in an Australian Opals selection camp.

The 23-woman squad will convene in Phoenix, Arizona from July 20-28 ahead of naming a squad for the 2019 FIBA Asia Cup, which will see Garbin miss the Flames’ final two regular season games and possibly the first week of the SBL play-offs.

But Flames women’s coach Craig Reynolds said the club was well aware of the possibility of losing Garbin to national team duties before signing her, and was nothing but supportive despite the prospect of losing a key player on the eve of the play-offs.

“Darcee’s sacrificed a lot for the club over a number of years and we think it’s a great opportunity for her to chase her Opals dream, so we really support her,” he said.

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“(The timing of the camp) is not ideal but we fully support her going forward and we hope she does very well.

“We hope we’ve locked in that finals spot by the time she goes and hopefully it doesn’t come down to that final game. We’ve got the cover to be a competitive team with Darcee out...so I don’t think it’ll affect our play-offs much at this stage.”

Darcee Garbin in green and gold during a four nations tournament in Japan in 2017.
Camera IconDarcee Garbin in green and gold during a four nations tournament in Japan in 2017. Credit: WNBL/Townsville Fire

Garbin, 24, said representing Australia would always be her “number one priority” and also backed her teammates to handle her absence for the games against Warwick and Lakeside on July 19 and 26 respectively.

The Flames were well in play-off contention with a 5-4 win/loss record before Garbin arrived in Rockingham earlier this month following a successful stint playing in Germany’ Damen-Basketball-Bundesliga for Herner TC, where she won the league and cup double.

“We’ve got a really good team so I’m sure we’ll be fine. We’ve got plenty of scorers, and I know that is a big role I play, but it’s not like we’re relying on me every game to get the job done,” Garbin said.

The 188cm forward was one of the last players cut from the Opals’ squad that won silver at last year’s FIBA Women’s World Cup in Spain, but said she was confident of proving her credentials alongside Australia’s best players.

“It’s a chance to go back and show that I’ve improved hopefully over the last year and do everything right to put myself in a position to be selected,” she said.

“It’s an awesome opportunity, there four or five girls that are in the WNBA so it’s a good chance to go up against those girls and those who have competed at either a Worlds or an Olympics.”

She was also excited about training alongside the likes of WNBA superstar Liz Cambage and former Flames teammate and WNBA champion Sami Whitcomb.

Darcee Garbin.
Camera IconDarcee Garbin. Credit: JBA/Twitter

“You come away from every camp learning something new and getting that extra experience that you can bring back to your national league team or State league team,” Garbin said.

“Everyone’s always happy to answer questions, and it’s always a great experience representing your country. The team that went to the World Cup put the Opals back on the podium after the Rio Olympics, so it’s going to be a tough group to crack into but I’ve put in the work and will keep working over the next couple of months to make sure I’m ready when I get my chance.”

Australian Opals head coach Sandy Brondello called the squad “very strong with a good mixture of experienced and up-and-coming younger players who we are excited to evaluate”.

“The camp allows another great opportunity for us to continue to work on our system and chemistry as a team,” she said.

The 2019 FIBA Asia Cup will be held from September 22-29, with the location yet to be confirmed by FIBA.

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