WNBL Boomers v Capitals: Cayla George sums up final attitude
WHEN questioned why the Boomers will win from fourth on the ladder, captain Cayla George said it simply.
"Why not, mate?"
It is the dogged attitude that has spread through the Melbourne camp like wildfire and it emanates from their leader.
George has been phenomenal since stepping up to the co-captaincy with Maddie Garrick this season, letting her actions lead the way on court but also forging a bond with her team off the court.
While the Boomers have faced setbacks this season, including their final game loss to the Fire, it has been George who has galvanised the troops after the final whistle.
It will be the 15-year WNBL veteran who will lead her troops into battle on a court she has tasted plenty of previous success on.
George won three WNBL titles as part of a dominant Townsville front court alongside Suzy Batkovic, and those fond memories are fuelling her in her return to finals action at Townsville Stadium.
And even from fourth place, George said there was no lack of confidence in the Boomers.
"We don't really have a choice, we put ourselves in this predicament. Our own destiny was in our control and we were unable to beat Townsville in the last game," she said.
"We have finished fourth so this is what we have to do now to get to the big dog final and hopefully win.
"You can't have any doubt as an athlete. You train to be in these positions, ideally we would want a higher spot in the finals but we are in the finals. This is what you play for, to be in the finals and to win championships. We just have to find a way."
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While the hub season has been tough on players from all clubs, George said she had relished the opportunity to see more of her hometown Cairns.
Being around her family, her husband and most importantly her two Siberian huskies Coco and Ceasar was almost an advantage for the 193cm centre.
George admitted the hub life had also brought the Melbourne outfit closer together, with the team forging a bond of resilience to get through the high-intensity season.
"I think the bubble is as strong as its weakest link so we really have to make sure we are all on the same page and keep that bubble strong," she said.
"We have seen each other for eight weeks straight now. It has been tough but it has been a chance to learn how each other really tick.
"It has been about learning each other more, and we are better for it and closer for it. I wouldn't recommend doing a season like this every year, but it has been a great opportunity to bond and create a stronger culture."
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Wednesday's semi-finals also provides an opportunity for redemption for the women in purple as they aim to knock over defending champions Canberra Capitals. The same Capitals side that knocked the Boomers out of the finals race last season.
The Capitals have had their own dramas to contend with in the hub season with injuries to their top line stars Kelsey Griffin and Marianna Tolo forcing them to manage their minutes on the court.
But George warned the Boomers were not expecting an easy ride from the ladies from the nation's capital.
"We win this game with composure and intent to play a Boomers brand of basketball. Defence first and rebounding strong," she said.
"We have to match (Canberra) and we have to be aggressive. We can't shy away from their aggression. It is a great match up, and I think there is a lot of history there. It will be a great game to play in."
Originally published as 'Why not, mate': Boomers locked in for WNBL finals