Capitals invite greats back into WNBL for season boost

Carly Wilson says her transition into coaching is a fresh start after 363 WNBL games, but the Canberra Capitals are going back to the future to tap into the brain of the club's most successful leader.

Capitals coach Paul Goriss is set to invite his predecessor and seven-time championship-winning mentor Carrie Graf into team's inner sanctum as a pre-season motivation tool.

Graf, who has the most wins of any coach in WNBL history, put her career on hold almost two years ago to focus on family life.

The former Australian Opals mentor is regarded as one of the most respected coaching figures in women's sport, and Goriss is keen to give his new-generation squad a taste of Graf's success.

Goriss has added former Capitals skipper Wilson to his coaching panel to work with fellow former player Peta Sinclair when the WNBL season starts on October 6.

The Capitals have recruited seven-time title-winner Nat Hurst for the season, but there is a major gap in finals experience in the rest of the playing group.

That's why Graf, Wilson and Sinclair will play pivotal roles in Canberra's hopes of ending a six-year finals drought.

"I've got to talk to [Graf] over the next couple of weeks, there are some people I want to bring in to get former Capitals and coaches to talk to the girls in the pre-season," Goriss said.

"Part of motivation, but also the girls understanding what the people have done before them.

"There are a lot of Capitals still in Canberra that are either successful business people or in the sporting area, hearing their stories as a Capital is something I think is important."

WNBL life member Wilson retired at the end of last season, calling time on an almost 20-year career before being lured back by a coaching opportunity.

Goriss has a vision of grooming Sinclair or Wilson to be a future head coach as part of his "imprint" on the organisation whenever he finishes his tenure.

Wilson is excited at the chance to be involved in moulding a new-look squad, which starts its season against Bendigo at the National Convention Centre.

"I'm not missing playing at all, I'm not missing running from work and being late to training," Wilson said.

"But I do actually miss the game and miss being involved. I felt like I was ready to give back a little bit, and I feel like I do have stuff I can contribute this season from the sideline.

"If I didn't do it this season ... I wanted to do it while it felt like it was the right time."

It is hoped the WNBL will rise from the ashes this year after being exiled from national television coverage in recent seasons.

Games will be broadcast on Fox Sports as part of a new condensed season, with the regular season to finish at the end of December.

Sinclair, a three-time WNBL champion, said Graf was a major part in her transition to coaching after finishing her playing career.

"I think I make a better assistant coach at this point in my career and that's something I hope to build on," Sinclair said.

"We're trying to get former players to come back in and instil the culture we used to have at the Capitals. It's going really well so far ... I'd love to get back to that point where we're a championship-winning program."

CAPITALS PRE-SEASON GAME

Friday: Canberra Capitals v Fujitsu Red Wave at Belconnen Basketball Stadium, 6.30pm.

CANBERRA CAPITALS WNBL DRAW

October 6: Capitals v Bendigo Spirit at National Convention Centre, 7.30pm.

October 8: Capitals v Adelaide Lightning at National Convention Centre, 3pm

October 13: Townsville Fire v Capitals at Townsville, 7pm.

October 15: Capitals v Melbourne Boomers at National Convention Centre, 3pm.

October 22: Capitals v Dandenong Rangers at National Convention Centre, 3pm.

October 25: Adelaide Lightning v Capitals at Adelaide, 7pm.

October 27: Capitals v Townsville Fire at National Convention Centre, 7.30pm.

November 2: Sydney Flames v Capitals at Sydney, 7pm.

November 4: Capitals v Sydney Flames at National Convention Centre, 3pm.

November 11: Perth Lynx v Capitals at Perth, 9.30pm.

November 18: Melbourne Boomers v Capitals at Melbourne, 3pm.

November 25: Capitals v Bendigo Spirit at Melbourne, 5pm.

November 30: Perth Lynx v Capitals at Perth, 9.30pm.

December 2: Melbourne Boomers v Capitals at Melbourne, 7.30pm.

December 7: Capitals v Sydney Flames at National Convention Centre, 7.30pm.

December 9: Dandenong Rangers v Capitals at Dandenong, 7pm.

December 14: Bendigo Spirit v Capitals at Bendigo, 7pm.

December 17: Capitals v Adelaide Lightning at National Convention Centre, 3pm.

December 21: Capitals v Townsville at National Convention Centre, 7.30pm.

December 23: Dandenong Rangers v Capitals at Dandenong, 6.30pm.

December 29: Capitals v Perth Lynx at National Convention Centre, 7.30pm.

The story Capitals invite greats back into WNBL for season boost first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop