Canberra Capitals tackle WNBL championship head on
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Canberra Capitals tackle WNBL championship head on

When push comes to shove, it's the pre-game secret weapon that's fired up the Canberra Capitals' bid to end their nine-year championship drought.

AFLW premiership coach Bec Goddard has brought more than just her winning ways in her codehop from Australian football to basketball.

Capitals assistant coach Bec Goddard has brought football's physicality to the basketball court.

Capitals assistant coach Bec Goddard has brought football's physicality to the basketball court.Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

The Capitals assistant coach has also brought plenty of physicality to the playing group, which was in full effect in their emphatic demolition of the Adelaide Lightning at AIS Arena on Saturday night.

Every lose ball, every rebound, every possession has become a scrap thanks to Canberra's relentless attack on the ball.

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The Capitals have won 12 games in a row and they'll look to wrap up their eighth WNBL title by winning lucky 13 in game two of the championship series in Adelaide on Wednesday night.

Ironically, Canberra's argie bargie came from the land of the Lightning - where Goddard coached the Adelaide Crows to the inaugural AFLW premiership.

Capitals coach Paul Goriss revealed it was Goddard who came up with the idea that helped start their winning streak.

"I think it was at the start of our 12-game winning streak, we had a discussion as coaches - we were having some slow starts after half-time," he said.

"We spoke about ways we could either eliminate some slow starts coming out of half-time, but what also could give us that physical, mental edge to start games as well.

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"Bec brought up about doing some grappling, tackling before the game after we did the pre-game talk.

"We tried it in the small little change rooms. We had the music pumped up and Bec took full control of the pre-game warm-up that was away from the court.

"Part of it's a bit of fun, but part of it's getting ready for the physical battle."

Goriss was impressed with Goddard after he heard her talk at a women-in-sport conference.

From there she was brought on board as an assistant, given her weekends over summer had freed up since she no longer had a job in the AFLW - despite winning the 2017 premiership and only narrowly missing out on last year's grand final.

Goddard wants to be a coach - ultimately in the AFL.

While the Crows offered her a full-time job, she knocked them back because there wasn't a pathway beyond the AFLW and into the AFL.

She's also an assistant coach for NEAFL team Canberra Demons and works full-time for the Australian Federal Police.

"She's in charge of what we call 'big standards', which is part of our cultural stuff about what are our key things that we want to be known for as a team," Goriss said.

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"And she's brought in some of those things from her AFLW footy teams and she does a presentation every week to the group on our big standards and themes, and a points system and we have a winner every week.

"To me it's just having a different voice as a coach and for the girls.

"Bec really hones in on what are those one-percenters that are really going to help us win that championship."

Goddard's had talks with the Gold Coast Suns, who will enter the AFLW for the 2020 season when it expands from 10 to 14 teams, about leading their program.

Goriss said she would be a loss to his program, having become an integral part of the coaching team along with fellow Capitals assistants Phil Brown and Carly Wilson.

The Capitals head coach felt there needed to be more full-time coaching jobs for women in sport.

"It would be a loss to us and to Canberra to lose her, but obviously great for her because she deserves to be a full-time coach and she wants to be a professional coach," Goriss said.

"It's just disappointing someone wins a premiership and doesn't have a job.

"But that's part of female sport in that we need more full-time jobs in those coaching areas.

"We want our players to be professional. We need out coaches to be full-time professional to be able to have their craft."

WNBL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES GAME TWO

Wednesday: Canberra Capitals v Adelaide Lightning in Adelaide, 7pm. Live on Fox Sports.

David Polkinghorne covers the Canberra Raiders, local rugby league, Canberra Cavalry, racing and cycling, along with every other sport, for The Canberra Times.

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