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Graf stalls on talks amid concern for future

Date

Lee Gaskin

Capitals coach Carrie Graf is unsure if her future lies with the Canberra Capitals.

Capitals coach Carrie Graf is unsure if her future lies with the Canberra Capitals. Photo: Karleen Minney

Canberra Capitals' coach Carrie Graf wants to hear Basketball ACT's long-term ambitions before extending her contract with the seven-time WNBL champions.

The Capitals (5-9) are having one of their roughest trots of Graf's 12-year tenure and desperately need to break their six-match losing streak against the Townsville Fire at the AIS Arena on Friday night.

While she is desperate to be the architect of a remarkable end-of-season playoff surge, Graf said concerns about the game's future in Canberra were equally important in her decision to remain in the job.

''You love to be winning, there's no question, but I don't base it all on that,'' Graf said.

''It's about what we can do in Canberra with this Canberra Capitals team and brand and what we can do with basketball in this city.

''How much support do we have from Basketball ACT, how much support do we have from local government, from our sponsors and can we continue to be a standard setter in women's basketball, or is it someone else's turn to try and drive the ship?

''I'm not going to base a professional decision on the prospects of the current team or the current season.

''It's much bigger thing than that, and I've got to look at all the options.

''I'm a coach, that's my profession. I've got to look at what's also the right thing for me in my career at particular times and which contracts are the best fit for me.''

Graf is one of the most successful coaches in Australian women's basketball with seven WNBL titles, one with the Sydney Flames and the rest with the Capitals, missing only the 2002-03 championship when she handed the reins to Tom Maher.

Graf also didn't coach the Capitals in 2004-05 when she was in charge of the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA.

This season has been one of her most challenging on and off the court.

Marquee recruit Lauren Jackson has been sidelined for the entire campaign with a torn adductor muscle, and Graf took time off after the death of father last month.

Graf hasn't ruled out remaining in Canberra, but wants to be assured there are measures put in place to return to the Capitals to the powerhouse they once were.

''We can't be a program that's had success and plateaus out and slides the other way,'' she said.

''Are we heading in the right direction and do we have all the appropriate support?

''If all those ducks are all lined up then this is somewhere I'd love to be, but if we can't get those things lined up then I need to look at what's the best fit.

''But I'm confident [with] the right discussions with the right people we can continue to make sure the Capitals are a shining light for the Canberra sporting landscape,'' Graf said.

FRIDAY

WNBL: Canberra Capitals v Townsville Fire at the AIS Arena, 7pm.

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