The Melbourne Boomers are entering a new era this upcoming WNBL season with a new look roster headlined by former Championship-winning Flyer, Sara Blicavs.
The Melbourne Boomers have undergone a bit of a change, with long-term players Tess Madgen and Cayla George joining former coach Guy Molloy in Sydney. The only two players that are returning from last season are Penina Davidson and Kristy Wallace.
Blicavs spent eight seasons with the Flyers, including the club’s championship win during the 2020 hub season up in Queensland. Although a tough decision, Blicavs said it’s what’s best for her career moving forward.
“I think for me personally in my career, I was just at that stage where I needed a change. I just felt a little bit stuck and stagnant,” Blicavs told The Inner Sanctum.
“I thought it was time to mix things up and Chris Lucas has always wanted to coach me so I felt like I owed him that. I’ve seen the kind of players that he develops and I feel like even at 30 I still have a lot of improvement to go and I think he’ll get the best out of me.”
Leaving the club that you’ve been a part of for the past eight seasons would be a tough decision for anyone. So there was no doubt that the conversations weren’t easy, but Blicavs is looking forward to some friendly banter when they go head to head.
“It’s sad. I have a lot of friends there that’s for sure. It’s a beautiful club and some beautiful people work there, so it was hard. It’s going to be very weird playing against them and especially when we go back and play at their home court,” she said.
“This is sport and this is business and it happens all the time. I’ll just have to get over it and get my trash talk back on to rip into my friends.”
Blicavs wasn’t the only Flyer to make the switch over the off-season with Monique Conti and Aimie Rocci also making the cross-town switch. It sets up for a fiery first instalment of the Michele Timms Cup on Saturday.
“I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet that I’ll still be part of this rivalry just on the other end now,” she said.
“I know when I was at the Flyers it was massive. I think you just naturally hate the other Melbourne team because you know, it’s ingrained in your brain to do so.
“So yeah, it’s gonna be interesting. I think being in your old club you want to win against them. It’ll be interesting to see how I feel like I said, the time hasn’t come yet and I’ll be interested in seeing what I feel like.”
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Along with the former Southside Flyers trio, Chris Lucas has recruited former Sydney Flame Keely Froling and import duo Jordin Canada and Naz Hillmon just to name a few. While it’s a fierce outfit, Blicavs said that Lucas has been able to recruit “good humans” as well.
“We’re gonna be a bunch of feisty players. I feel honestly, like Chris is just recruiting good humans and I think that’s massive,” she said.
“I think if you can recruit a team of good humans then you’re gonna want to play for each other and win for each other. So we’ll be doing that but honestly just a fun group that wants to work hard and I think you get results when you want to work hard and put your body on the line.
“I think just a team that’s full of energy and life and full of athletes I say.”
Looking at her game, Blicavs had a standout 2022 campaign which included a 40-point game against her new club at the Boom Box, but Blicavs said that she wants to be able to be more consistent across the season.
“I just want to make sure I can get as many wins and help the team win as many games as we can. I think for me, I just want to get more consistent and play good basketball every week, not just every second week,” she said.
“So that’s going to be massive for me and just playing freely and happily as well, I think I haven’t done that in a while so I’m looking forward to getting back on court.”
Away from the court, Blicavs has become an entrepreneur starting her own underwear business in Sarakirsti.
“It’s so much fun like I’m so out of my depth here, I’ve never done a business course nor studied so I just kind of threw myself in the deep end. I’m absolutely loving learning and picking up a new skill and all the knowledge and the risk that comes with running a business,” she said.
“I’m absolutely loving it right now, I’m getting it out there getting people to buy some underwear because that’s what I do. If you need to drop the name Sarakirsti it’s just right now for me just getting more exposure to it and getting people to realise how beautiful my underwear is.”
The venture, while a learning curve from a business perspective has also shown the importance of getting that balance and finding things outside of elite sport.
“I realised this now, massive. I think you know, you just get so caught up in basketball and when you don’t have anything else in your life, it can really overwhelm you,” she said.
“So now, if I play a bad game, I can’t think about it because I’ll have to go home and pack orders. So I think it’s just a great little outlet to have and also for me, I’m 30 now so I still hope to play for another five years.
“So I guess just starting a little side hustle and hopefully fall into this when I’m retired and when I’m done, that’s kind of the goal at the moment. I’m really happy I started something that’s for sure.”
The Melbourne Boomers will kick off their season tonight when they take on the Adelaide Lightning at Adelaide Arena.