Rest easy Spirit fans, Gabe Richards is fit and ready to fire for Sunday’s WNBL grand final at Bendigo Stadium.
Richards suffered concussion after a head clash with Chantella Perera at training last week, but has fully recovered.
“I got the all clear from the doctor on Tuesday, I’m feeling fine, I was pretty rough last week but I’ve recovered,” Richards said yesterday.
The star centre held doubts about taking the court for the decider after feeling like she’d been used as a punching bag.
“On the Thursday I definitely felt like I’d lost a boxing match,” she said.
“I had a ringing headache and a really fat lip and some black eyes. If the final was last week, I wouldn’t have been allowed to play.
“I was a little bit concerned about this weekend, just because I had a concussion. They kept telling me I had to rest my brain, I wasn’t too good at that.
“I wasn’t very good at being under house arrest and not being able to watch TV or read anything – there’s only so much you can sleep.”
Richards began jogging on Sunday and has trained with the team this week - easing concerns for the Spirit.
The 188cm star is crucial to the Spirit’s hopes of securing a first championship victory against Townsville Fire.
Bendigo is hot favourites with betting agencies, but the Fire has worn the underdog tag well in the finals.
“I don’t think a lot of people expected them to get past Adelaide and they did the same against Dandenong,” Richards said.
“I think it’s because they play a lot like us – very defensively orientated basketball.
“They play well together and they play to stop other teams. I think that’s why they’ve had a lot of success so far and I expect it to be very tough for us on Sunday.”
The hype surrounding the grand final has been unmatched for any Spirit game.
“Even people we don’t know are wishing us luck saying ‘we’ll be watching or we’ll be there’, everyone seems to be behind us which is really nice,” she said.
“But in camp we’ve kept a lid on it. We haven’t talked about it at training, it’s just a normal week for us, but you can tell the support around town is getting bigger and bigger.”
Sunday’s grand final tips-off at 3.45pm, you can follow the game on a live blog on the Bendigo Advertiser website or on Twitter @BgoAddySport.
ABC TV is also broadcasting the grand final live from 3.30pm.