Graham Croker

ACUVUE Sydney University Flames captain Natalie Porter might be sidelined with a broken wrist, but it hasn’t prevented her input into a seven-match winning streak that has taken the team to second on the NWBL ladder.
Porter is not only the most active supporter of the Flames at courtside (vocally and physically), she’s also an astute judge of what the Flames have been doing on and off the court.
And as she told supporters at a packed Blue & Gold luncheon at the WatersEdge Restaurant on Thursday, the Flames are poised to go all the way in 2009-10.
“We have such potential we should be able to dominate any line-up,” she said a day after the Flames had put paid to the AIS 101-49 at ACUVUE Sports Hall at the Sydney University Sports and Fitness Centre.
“I want teams to fear us. We want them to say, ‘Oh, Oh, we’re playing the Flames’.”
Porter, a Master of Commerce student, said the addition of dual Olympian Suzy Batkovic-Brown to the Flames’ roster this season has added a new dynamic to the team that has been the WNBL bridesmaid too often in recent seasons.
“Our scoring potential now comes from all over the court,” she said. “We have been an offensive juggernaut for years; now our defence comes into play.”
Porter said the Flames’ stuttering start to the season came down to new personnel taking time to gel.
“The potential was there in the first few weeks of the season, but it took until our trip to Tasmania (Round 4) for it to come together,” she said.
“Our confidence has grown since then and we’re now going into every game with the view that we can win.”
Thursday’s Blue & Gold club lunch attracted a 150-strong audience. With B&G boss Rodney Tubbs hosting the event, and guest interviewer Steve Carfino interviewing leading players, including Eva Afeaki, Catherine Cox, Suzy Batkovic-Brown, Deanne Butler and Deanna Smith, sponsors and supporters were given a first-hand look at the Flames’ personnel.
And most came away with the view that the Karen Dalton-coached outfit might be burning brightest early next year.

Women’s National Basketball League – Game 11

ACUVUE Sydney University Flames 76 (Suzy Batkovic-Brown 31, Deanna Smith 16, Eva Afeaki 11) d Canberra Capitals 66 (Jess Bibby 20, Natalie Hurst 17, Chantella Perera 8, Carly Wilson 8) at Southern Cross Stadium, Canberra.