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Share Graf as needed, says Stirling

Former Australian Opals coach Jan Stirling says asking Carrie Graf to give up her Canberra Capitals post in world championship or Olympic years is an option Basketball Australia could consider as its post-Olympic review continues.

Stirling suggested a number of options that could be discussed, with the sport's governing body weighing up whether the position should be full-time.

As did Graf, Stirling juggled a club head coaching post with the national job with great success. She guided the Opals to Olympic silver medals in 2004 and 2008, and also masterminded four WNBL championships with Adelaide Lightning.

Stirling quit the Lightning in 2004 to concentrate on the Opals, but insisted Graf, her successor, did not have to follow suit.

Stirling, lauded by many as Australia's most successful coach, said installing the Opals coach as head of a centre of excellence, instead of coaching a WNBL club, could also be an option.

Graf's Capitals and Opals contracts expire at the end of the season.


''One thing they could do is 'Graffy' gets her four-year [Opals] appointment and can still coach the Capitals,'' Stirling said. ''However, in 2014, the world championship year, there's an an expectation Graffy is full-time with the Opals from January 1, therefore she wouldn't be head coach of the Capitals.

''In the critical [Olympics and world championship] years, from January 1 to September 30, you're full-time.

''Do we need to look at hypothetically a centre of excellence, and the head coach is there exposing the second tier to their ethos?

''Whether that's a better model, who knows.''

Stirling said allowing Graf to continue juggling her Opals and Capitals posts could also be the best option.

''The thought process when I was coaching was coaches do need to be doing game-day coaching, that's an issue,'' she said. ''In my time frame [at the Opals] Brian Goorjian was head coach of the Boomers and also coached the Sydney Kings.

''Whatever Goorjian got paid as the national coach I got paid, but he was probably on a six-figure sum [at the Kings] and I was certainly not on a six-figure sum at the Lightning.''

The Capitals are desperate for Basketball Australia to complete its review so they can press forward with their negotiations with Graf, which began this week.

Basketball ACT boss Tony Jackson told The Canberra Times on Wednesday he wanted Basketball Australia to finalise its review before the end of the year.

However, that might not eventuate with a statement released by a Basketball Australia representative yesterday indicating it is unlikely to be completed by Christmas.

''Basketball Australia is currently undertaking a review of the four-year program leading into the 2012 Olympic Games, and key recommendations from that review are expected to form the basis for our strategic plan leading into Rio, 2016,'' the statement read.

''The review will be finished in early 2013. It will incorporate announcements made last week by the Australian Sports Commission regarding the 'Winning Edge' strategy, and it will go to the Basketball Australia board for approval.''

The Capitals (5-6 win-loss record) hit the road to play Sydney (2-9) on Friday night keen to snap a three-game losing streak.

Guard Michelle Cosier and forward Alex Bunton (virus) have not practised this week, and are expected to play fewer minutes.

Cosier's illness means Mikaela Dombkins is set to receive more court time against her former side.

Dombkins was superb in Canberra's 60-56 victory over Sydney on November 2, racking up 14 points.

''Sydney's my old team and I always match up well against them,'' Dombkins said. ''Not that I go out there thinking I want to bash them around. I know their players and their stuff inside out and am confident each game.''