Jayco Australian Opals head coach Carrie Graf says that her team’s three-game Farewell Series basketball tournament against South American powerhouse Brazil in June has taken on a whole new importance following Tuesday morning’s draw for London 2012.
The draw, which was conducted in Rio by the world governing body of basketball FIBA, saw the Jayco Australian Opals pooled along with Brazil in Group B for London, meaning the two sides will get an early look at each other in Victoria in June.
Graf says that the Farewell Series, which tips off with a big double-header clash at Melbourne’s Hisense Arena with the Australian Boomers on Sunday June 24, will be the perfect preparation for the team before they depart for London.
“In our planning phase we had to make some calculated guesses on playing appropriate opponents from the different nations and then picking some key opponents that we figured we would meet at some point in the tournament and I guess we got lucky in that sense, in that we’ve got Brazil early and we play them before we leave Australia,” Graf said.
“Our game against Brazil once the tournament starts is a must-win game in our pool, and playing them in the Farewell Series means we’ll know them inside out, and that’s a big positive for us,” she said.
According to Graf, competing against a side as opposed to scouting them from the stands offers a great deal of additional and invaluable insight, not only in gaining a sense of their strengths and weaknesses as individuals, but also as a group.
“It means we go in well-prepared for their style of play and their individual talent, but it also gives us a good sense of ourselves competing against them.
“Traditionally the Jayco Opals have played Brazil in series like this on our soil before major tournaments and it’s always set us up well and I think it’s a good thing again,” Graf said.
As well as the Australia-Brazil match-up in the women’s competition, the Farewell Series will also see the Boomers take on European superpower Greece.
Tickets for the Hisense Arena double-header on Sunday 24 June are now on sale through Ticketek. CLICK HERE for tickets.
Tickets for the other games of the series go on sale on Thursday May 10.