Veteran Ali Partridge has provided the perfect balance this year behind the success of Launceston Tornadoes.
It’s little wonder the side is beautifully aligned for a SEABL championship tilt – the pilates instructor having teammates embracing the popular exercise every week.
“We have an elite program where everybody buys in,” Partridge says, comparing pilates to the Tornadoes game.
“We’ve tried things like this in the past and it’s like this year it just really took off. Everyone has got amongst it.”
It has worked for seasoned campaigner’s game.
Partridge has doubled her points average this year from 2017, put up an extra 72 shots with more court time, but has played eight more games.
The 36-year-old had to be wooed out of retirement again – she jokingly says – having call it quits at the end of nearly every season since joining the club in 2013.
“When I heard about who we were going to be, who we were bring back into the team and the kind of personnel we were going to have, I just thought I have to be a part of this,” Partridge said.
“This was such a good opportunity, from the minute I spoke to Derrick and he told me his vision to win a championship, that’s exactly where this club has been headed for the last five years.”
One of Derrick Washington’s foot soldiers on the court, Partridge’s measured words demonstrates a soft soul off it like patience on it.
Partridge’s SEABL debut was 2001, arriving in Tasmania for a 2006 season with the former North West Thunder women’s outfit before coming close to winning a 2011 title with Nunawading.
But this time it’s different.
“This particular group feels special that I feel like we can really do this,” she said.
“I have played basketball for 30 years from when I’ve had a group where everybody buys exactly into the same sort of vision, the same sort of goal. No one has an agenda and everyone is about the team. Then it becomes much more than just winning.”