It’s the margin between the birth of Alicia Froling and twin sister and fellow WNBL forward Keely and one that gives her bragging rights as the older — and in her eyes, more dominant – sibling ahead of their on-court battle.
“Keely thinks she is (going to get the upper hand) but I’m taller and I’m stronger and she’s got something coming for her,” Alicia says.
Like any good sibling rivalry, there’s an immediate retort.
“I just say look at my resume and then we’ll go from there,” Opals and Australian 3×3 squad member Keely says.
All jokes aside, the clash between the two forwards will be one of the highlights of Saturday’s WNBL match between Alicia’s unbeaten Bendigo Spirit and Keely’s Sydney Flames, who kick off their WNBL campaign on Saturday night after a round one bye.
The Flames had a season to forget last year, claiming the league’s wooden spoon after winning just four of their 17 games.
“We’re coming off a year last year that was disappointing but I also think the people that were there learnt so much from that and now we bring that tenacity and that never give up attitude to a team that has a whole lot more talent,” Flames captain Keely said.
“So add those things together and I think we can be really dangerous.
“But I think anyone is lying to you if they’re saying they’re going for anything less than championships. That’s my goal and our team’s goal every year to start the season.”
Alicia’s Spirit finished just outside the four last season and will be pushing for a finals spot this year.
“I think we just have a good, solid group of players. We go pretty deep too, so we have good people coming off the bench and we’re just a good team,” Alicia said.
“I don’t think there’s been a lot of talk around us as a team but we’re fine with that, too. We’re happy to fly under the radar for a little bit.”
With their heads totally in the contest, each woman will treat the other as just another rival when they meet on court.
But with both playing in the power forward spot, they will go head-to-head and no quarter will be given in the battle.
“It always adds an extra element to the game but at the end of the day, I go into every game wanting to win so I’m always competitive whether my sister is on the floor or not,” Keely said.
Alicia said the sibling rivalry was almost a game within the game.
“I think people are entertained watching it too but really, you’re just trying to win the game of basketball,” she said.
“It is a thing but at the end of the day, it’s not really a massive thing either.”
What is a “massive thing” for the Flames is Friday’s announcement that forward and New Zealand representative Kalani Purcell would withdraw from the WNBL season for “personal reasons”.
“It’s a massive blow for us. Kalani brings a lot to this group leadership-wise and defensively,” Keely said.
“She’s just so smart – last year she was getting six, seven steals a game and as a big man that just doesn’t happen (often), so we can’t replace her but we have people that are going to step up.
“She’s got to do what’s right for her and obviously we wish her all the best.
“Kalani’s got to put herself first, so we will support her with that.”
Originally published as WNBL 2023: Froling twins to go head-to-head as Sydney Flames face Bendigo Spirit