Close this search box.

Where will your team finish? Jo Healy’s WNBL guide


It’s WNBL time again, and there’s plenty of star power joining and returning to the competition for the 2022-23 season. Our basketball expert Jo Healy previews the season and casts her prediction for where every team will finish.

The defending champs are back on opening night of the WNBL season, taking on the team they beat for the chip, the Perth Lynx. 

We can’t wait for the season to tip off, so here’s a summary of who to look out for and who we think will be there at the business end.

The Only Sports Show | Latest episode:

Find us on Apple or Spotify

There will be no ‘easybeats’ this WNBL season, and we love it! And don’t forget that Wednesday nights will be dedicated to women’s hoops, with ESPN broadcasting the WNBL game of the week each round. 

Melbourne Boomers

WNBL Champions last season, the Boomers are out to repeat those efforts. 

They’ll be without their captain Tess Madgen for the first month of the season after she required knee surgery following the Opals’ World Cup campaign, but the defending Champions have ample depth to cover for her absence. 

With new head coach Chris Lucas at the helm, the Boomers have signed Opals and Atlanta Dream guard Kristy Wallace, LA Sparks big Olivia Nelson-Ododa, and brought in the experience of three-time WNBL Champion Mia Murray from the Townsville Fire. 

Along with returning Opals centre Cayla George and Indiana Fever’s Tiffany Mitchell, the Boomers are in a good position to go back-to-back.

Regular season prediction: 1st 

Embed from Getty Images

Sydney Flames

The Flames finished on the bottom of the ladder last season but have brought in some star power to help elevate them in 2022/23. New York Liberty’s Jocelyn Willoughby will lead the way, supported by recruit Emma Clarke who was enticed to Sydney from the Perth Lynx. 

Young gun Shyla Heal is expected to take her game to another level to help steer the ship. And the Flames boast a cast of strong shooters, including Tiana Mangakahia and Vanessa Panousis.

Sydney will be one of the grittiest defensive teams. Based on their pre-season form, we think they’ll be in the mix come finals.

Regular season prediction: 4th

Southside Flyers

There’s no doubt the Flyers are loaded with experience. After an incredible international return at the World Cup, Lauren Jackson will be hoping to continue that momentum with Southside this season. The only question is how many minutes she’ll play.

The GOAT will come off the bench for the Flyers as part of a strong frontcourt contingent including Sara Blicavs and Abby Bishop, while the signing of Dallas Wings’ import Kayla Thornton will provide a valuable spark at the offensive end. 

Southside opens its season against the Lightning on Saturday, a mouthwatering game that could double as an early finals preview.

Regular season prediction: 2nd

Adelaide Lightning

This is Steph Talbot’s world and we’re just living in it. The Lightning captain is in some serious form after leading the Opals to a Bronze Medal at the Women’s World Cup and being named in the All-Star Five. 

Adelaide has a different support cast around Talbot this season, and they’re expected to make waves. Import Kierstan Bell comes in after her first season in the WNBA as part of the Championship-winning Las Vegas Aces. She’ll be joined by fellow American Jacinta Monroe, who brings plenty of experience along with her 6’5 frame. 

Local talent Lauren Mansfield and Marena Whittle will also be key for the Lightning, who will be coached by six-time WNBL Championship winner Nat Hurst.

Regular season prediction: 3rd

Bendigo Spirit

They finished 5th last season and missed out on the finals, but have been widely tipped to be in the mix in 2022/23.

The Spirit boasts last season’s MVP, Anneli Maley, who returns after being part of the Opals bronze medal campaign in Sydney. 

The 24-year-old led the league in points and rebounds last season, and will again be a nuisance for opposition teams. So too will former MVP Kelsey Griffin, who returns to Bendigo after four season’s with the Canberra Capitals.

Newly acquired by Sports Entertainment group, the Spirit has a strong backing and will be expected to grind out some big scalps. It is going to be a logjam between 4th-6th on the ladder.

Regular season prediction: 5th

Embed from Getty Images

Perth Lynx

Perth will again be looking to its star guard Sami Whitcomb to lead the way in season 2022/23. The 34-year-old is coming off the back of a successful World Cup campaign with the Opals, along with a playoff appearance with the New York Liberty in the WNBA.

While the Lynx were grand finalists last season, the departure of Darcee Gardin to Hungary and Emma Clarke to the Sydney Flames is a big loss. Lauren Scherf will still provide a strong presence in the paint, and import Robbi Ryan will be a weapon at the offensive end, but with so much depth in the competition, it’s going to be tough to reach the finals for the second straight year.

Prediction: 7th

Townsville Fire

Returning stars Lauren Nicholson, Zitina Aokuso and Steph Reid make up a solid foundation for Shannon Seebohm’s side. 

Adding to that is the signing of WNBA Championship winner Tianna Hawkins and Karlie Samuelson, who bring experience and size to the Fire’s frontcourt. 

Mikaela Ruef is also an impact player off the bench and will likely be in the running for sixth woman of the year. 

The Fire are another team that are likely to be in the mix but might just fall short of the top four.

Prediction: 6th

UC Capitals

The Caps enter this season with Kristen Veale at the helm, leading the side after Paul Gorris took up an assistant coaching role with the Atlanta Dream in the WNBA.

Veale is a three-time WNBL champion and remains the all-time assist leader (1,617), bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team as head coach. 

With Aussie young gun Jade Melbourne and Americans Dekeiya Cohen and Rae Burrell, the Capitals will be competitive, but having lost the services of Kelsey Griffin and Alicia Froling, there’s a good chance they’ll end up with the wooden spoon.

Prediction: 8th

Latest Stories

Best State of Origin jerseys
We've selected and ranked the 10 best State of Origin jerseys of all time
2024 T20 World Cup ultimate guide: Can Australia reclaim the title?
Sport events 2024 calendar australia
Your Ultimate Guide to every unmissable sporting event for 2024, updated
Best sports autobiographies
How many have you done? Here are the 10 best sports autobiographies ever written

Related Articles