Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Hunt positive in role change

Canberra Capitals guard Nicole Hunt.

Canberra Capitals guard Nicole Hunt. Photo: Jay Cronan

After losing her starting point guard spot to Natalie Hurst, Canberra Capitals playmaker Nicole Hunt would be forgiven for considering her a threat.

But Hunt believes she and the Australian Opals star can forge one of the WNBL's most dangerous back court partnerships when she returns from injury.

The 24-year-old will miss Saturday's season-opener against Sydney at AIS Arena after undergoing ankle surgery in May, and hopes to be back by round three.

She will spend more time in the unfamiliar shooting guard role to accommodate Hurst's return, a seven-time championship winner with Canberra.

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The Capitals also have local juniors Alice Coddington and Tara Hay as back-up point guards, ensuring competing on the training court is fierce.

Hunt is conceding ground due to the injury she picked up in the opening round of the SEABL competition, and will return to practice this week. Having been Canberra's on-court general the past three years, Hunt views club legend Hurst's return as a boost to her career, not a hindrance.

''It will be an adjustment, but I'm not giving it up to just anyone, it's Nat Hurst,'' she said.

''She's been a wonderful player for the Capitals and the Opals, I'm looking to learn as much as I can when I train against her.

''It's a healthy thing to have that competitiveness.''

Coach Carrie Graf has already forecast the possibility of alternating Hurst and Hunt between shooting guard and point guard.

Hunt took on more scoring responsibility last season and has the chance to be more selfish as Canberra looks to return to finals after a two-year absence.

''[Shooting guard] isn't a role I've played before, I've always been a pure point guard, but it's exciting,'' Hunt said.

''As a point guard [it will be nice] to have a few things run for you and take a few shots, I think Natty will be feeling the same. It's going to be a real strength of ours.''

Hunt has battled arthritis in her knees for most of her WNBL career, and was looking forward to an uninterrupted season before injury struck.

''I haven't trained with the girls yet, I'll be back at practice this week and hopefully right by round three or four,'' she said. ''I was ready to have a good SEABL season leading into the WNBL, but did my ankle first game.

'The surgeon said it was my decision but when basketball's a lot of what you do, he'd be getting it done.

''It's certainly going to be a challenge getting back into this season without pre-season games under my belt.''

SATURDAY

WNBL, round one: Canberra Capitals v Sydney Flames at AIS Arena, 3pm

TV time: Live on ABC1.


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