Canberra Capitals captain, Jess Bibby, has revealed Natalie Hurst’s early exit to play in Turkey has the support of the Club’s senior players but fronted the media to explain how the situation highlights the need for player pay to be increased in the WNBL in order to prevent an offshore exodus.
Bibby spoke to the Canberra Times, admitting it was unfortunate Hurst – Sports Wizard®’s Basketball Ambassador and one of Australia’s best talents – was forced to play overseas due to the lack of money in the local female game.
”We’re don’t want astronomical dollars, but it would be nice not to have to go offshore to be a professional player,” Bibby told the Times.
”Everyone wishes Nat the best, because you’re only a professional athlete for a short period, and when her and Abby Bishop, [Capitals forward] are our two pros and it’s what they do for a living, they need to look at that.”
Bibby also revealed Hurst would not have left the Club had the Capitals still been in WNBL Finals contention.
”If we’re in a situation where we could make the playoffs, we wouldn’t be talking about it,” Bibby said.
”In a perfect world, she would obviously have loved to finish the season, but there’s a deadline they need to meet overseas and it wouldn’t be worth their while if she couldn’t get on the plane straight away.
”She’s looking to improve her game to have every chance to make that Australian Opals team [for the world championships].”
The Capitals fell to the Townsville Fire at AIS Arena and now host the West Coast Waves at the same venue on February 14 to finish the 2013/14 WNBL Season.