Brazil Beckons

The 12-player team tasked with qualification for this year’s Paris Olympic Games will include eight members of the 2022 World Cup bronze medal campaign.

The Seven Consulting Opals will need to negotiate Brazil, Germany and Serbia at next month’s FIBA qualifying tournament in order to compete at this year’s Paris Olympic Games.

The 12-player team tasked with qualification will include eight members of the 2022 World Cup bronze medal campaign including Tess Madgen, Cayla George, Marianna Tolo, Lauren Jackson, Ezi Magbegor, Bec Allen, Sara Blicavs and Sami Whitcomb.

Tokyo Olympian Alanna Smith rejoins the team as does Jade Melbourne (for the first time since the 2021 Asia Cup) while 19-year-old rising star Isobel Borlase and point guard Steph Reid will debut.

The qualifying tournament runs from February 8 to 11 in Belem, Brazil with world No.3 Australia needing to finish top three in its pool to book an Olympic ticket.

Opals Head Coach Sandy Brondello said while injuries to key players named in the squad had impacted selection the team was focused and ready to hit the ground running.

Steph Talbot, Kristy Wallace, Darcee Garbin and Alice Kunek were unavailable for selection.

“I’m really happy to finally announce the team, we have been hit with some injuries for sure but that’s the nature of what we do so we prepare for that,” Brondello said.

“Brazil is first up and with the home crowd they will be tough, Germany is a team on the rise and we have a really competitive history against Serbia, so there are no easy games.

“We have limited preparation time for this window but we will take that as a motivator, this is where our experienced players will really make a difference. We are completely locked in now on the three games and securing our Olympic spot.”

Olympian Tess Madgen said the team would harness the meaning of the uniform and the women who had gone before them as the Opals strive to qualify for another Olympic campaign.

“Qualifiers are always tough, the competition continues to improve, we have long distances to travel and limited time to prepare but we know how to win and the green and gold always brings out the best in us.”  

Melbourne said she was thrilled to be selected.

“Playing for the Opals is the pinnacle for me. I can’t wait to get on the plane, get to Brazil and do whatever I can to help the team qualify for Paris.

“I’m super excited to embark on this journey with Izzy Borlase, we were room mates at the Under-19 World Cup and are so happy for each other.”

The Australian-based Opals will fly to Brazil on January 30 where they will link up with Brondello and Europe-based players Tolo, Magbegor and Smith.

Seven Consulting Opals Team

Rebecca Allen

Ezi Magbegor

Sara Blicavs

Jade Melbourne

Isobel Borlase

Stephanie Reid

Cayla George

Alanna Smith

Lauren Jackson

Marianna Tolo

Tess Madgen

Samantha Whitcomb


Head Coach Assistant Coach Assistant Coach Assistant Coach
Sandy Brondello  Cheryl Chambers Paul Goriss Shannon Seebohm


Game Schedule
Brazil v Australia Thursday 8 February
Australia v Germany  Saturday 10 February
Serbia v Australia  Sunday 11 February 


All games will be broadcasted on ESPN.

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