WNBL stars ready for ‘lots of eyes’ on league
The WNBL has as much world class talent as Super Netball and deserves equal exposure according to Opals captain Jenna O'Hea, who thinks the six-week season starting on Wednesday could provide the sport's ultimate boost.
Netball has set a precedent in recent times through the Super Netball's extensive broadcast coverage, but O'Hea believes basketball has a chance to return to the top.
She feels the condensed season in a North Queensland hub, combined with strong TV exposure on Fox and the ABC, will inspire the players to put on a show.
"On the world stage the Opals have been so successful for so many years, and it always really frustrates me that within Australia we are not looked at like that," said O'Hea, who also captains the league favourites, the Southside Flyers.
"So, I really hope that with this broadcast deal there will be a lot of eyes on our league.
"We have so much talent in this country in women's basketball, so I'm so excited that all the games are going to be broadcast.
"There will be heaps of eyes on us, and we will put on a good show, and hopefully we can latch onto the momentum of women's sports that has been really shining through because I think we deserve it."
With most of the Opals squad competing in this year's WNBL competition, O'Hea says the standard of play will be high.
Combine the talent with a strong broadcast deal, and it's the perfect time to tune into women's basketball.
O'Hea has never seen a better broadcast deal during her 15 years in the league.
"To have all games broadcast with most of the Opals squad back playing in Australia with Liz Cambage headlining that, it is great for the league," she said.
"The broadcast deal is fantastic.
"To have every game being broadcast is amazing. I've been in the league for a long time, and it is generally just one game a week.
"We've got the World Cup in Australia in 2022, the Olympics next year, so it is a really big few years for women's basketball."
O'Hea says a key to the WNBL's resurgence has been the appointment of Opals legend Lauren Jackson as the head of Women in Basketball at Basketball Australia.
"Lauren is a superstar of basketball, she is behind the scenes now and it is our time to shine, but she is doing her best to help us achieve that," she said.
"I hope the league continues to go in leaps and bounds and we continue to get the recognition that we deserve."