• Suzy Batkovic was unstoppable contributing 31 points to Fire's 91-71 win in the WNBL preliminary final (Townsville Fire)Source: Townsville Fire
Townsville Fire want another Batkovic in tow for its trip to Perth for Game 1 of the WNBL grand final series and no, NOT a clone of their superstar Suzy.
By
Megan Hustwaite

Source:
Zela
10 Mar 2016 - 11:26 AM  UPDATED 10 Mar 2016 - 11:29 AM

Mary Batkovic, mother of the Fire captain, has proved to be a good luck charm for the reigning WNBL champs. She flew from Newcastle to be in the crowd on Sunday when Townsville rebounded from a shock semi-final loss to win over SEQ in the preliminary final. 

Her daughter topped the stat sheet with 31 points to catapult the Fire into a fourth straight grand final.

"She's been a lucky charm that woman. Even last year, we won all the games she came to, I can't recall a loss mum came and watched.

"Everybody's been asking her 'Are you coming to Perth?' and she was like 'Sorry guys I've got to go back to work','' Suzy said. 

Suzy said her mum is her biggest supporter. 

"She hates missing a game. She'll be out at dinner and have the phone under the table on Live Stats, she's like "Sorry my daughter's playing I've got to follow Live Stats'. 

"I am so blessed to have had my parents. My dad Jay passed away from cancer five years ago, but they've been a godsend, so supportive. All those long hours driving me around for NSW country tournaments, poor mum dragging me out of be and taking me to 6am training as a kid.

"If it wasn't for them I wouldn't be where I am today."

Today, Batkovic is 35-years-old and at the peak of her powers. 

She is on the verge of winning a fourth league MVP and this weekend will play in her sixth WNBL grand final.

She has three championships to her name, last year's Fire title plus victories at the AIS and Sydney Uni Flames.

“It’s pretty exciting, pretty special for Townsville. For a club that was in trouble five/six years ago to turn it around and form an unbelievable culture, four grand finals in a row is amazing,'' she said.

“All grand finals are exciting and different in their own right but this year is about defending the title which is pretty tough to do, Bendigo did it the year before last. 

"It was so exciting winning it here in Townsville last year and we’ve got another opportunity to do so. We've got a three-game grand final series, which is phenomenal and overdue, and the positive thing is if we can get game one in Perth we come home and if we win game two, that will be a fairytale right there.”

The Fire are coming off a final round defeat and semi-final loss to the Lynx but Batkovic says those games have provided a learning curve. 

“The last game was a huge lesson and a good little wake-up call for us that we can’t just turn up and expect things just to happen, we need to bring it and be ready from the start,''she said.

"We weren’t switched on 100%, our defensive energy was non-existent and then you look at the game we played in the prelim and it was upbeat, everyone was on it. We’ve got to make sure we bring that energy to the grand final series.”

Batkovic, who if named in the Opals squad will compete in a fourth Olympic Games in Rio later this year, thrives on the big stage.

“Every year I try to be as consistent as possible and bring whatever I need to bring to get my team over the line. My focus is to win and I'm a competitor,'' she said.

“The big games are the fun games, they’re what you work your butt off for all year and you want that work to pay off. 

"I do love big games and I get overly excited about them.”

Grand final series details:

Game 1: Saturday, 12 March from 7pm (AWST time), Bendat Basketball Centre, Perth. Ticketing information here

Game 2: Friday, 18 March from 7pm (AEST time-not daylight savings), Townsville RSL, Townsville. Ticketing information call 07 4727 9797)

Game 3 if required: Sunday, 20 March Bendat Basketball Centre - details to follow. 

Look out for updates on SBS Zela including live streaming information.