With 18 years between them, Lara McSpadden hasn’t had much to do with three-time Olympian Suzy Batkovic previously but she will be following in the footsteps of her fellow Novocastrian next WNBL season.
McSpadden has signed with the Townsville Fire, a club where recently retired Batkovic spent seven domestic campaigns featuring three of the last six championships and four of her record six MVP awards.
The Australian junior representative, now 21, also reunites with former Hunters coach Shannon Seebohm at the North Queensland outfit in 2020-21 after they combined last year to win gold with the Emerging Opals at the World University Games and the 2019 Waratah League title for Newcastle.
“I’m thrilled to be making the move up to Townsville and to be coached by Shannon again,” McSpadden told the Newcastle Herald on Wednesday after the announcement.
“He works his players hard and has their development at the forefront of his coaching, which is something I have loved in being part of several teams with him previously.”
Seebohm told Townsville’s club media he was pleased with his newest recruit, who rounds out the squad.
“Lara is a fantastic addition to the Fire. Having coached her previously I know the type of person she is and know she will be an excellent fit for our team,” Seebohm said.
“She has a great work ethic and combined with her size and athleticism I think she is going to add a lot to our team at both ends of the floor.”
McSpadden, a 193-centimetre centre, arrives at the Fire after a stint with Sydney Uni that started in 2016.
Back in March, before the coronavirus lockdown, she spoke about her most recent WNBL season with the Flames: “I didn’t play as much as I wanted to. Coming off a good season last year I thought that I would’ve been given more opportunity.”
McSpadden had intended to line-up with NBL1 side Frankston Blues in 2020, but the global health pandemic saw her return home to Newcastle.
She will now feature for the Hunters in Saturday’s Waratah League season opener away against North Sydney and play as many games as possible before relocating.
“I’m grateful we get to play at least,” McSpadden said.
She joins other WNBL talent such as Cassidy McLean, Hannah Young and Alison Ebzery on the Hunters’ roster.