Opals gearing up for AFL grand final

·2-min read

Sara Blicavs will be just as anxious on the Opals' FIBA World Cup rest day as she would be if they were playing, and she has her older brother to thank.

Aside from being a member of the Australian squad currently vying for FIBA World Cup glory in Sydney, Blicavs is the sister of Geelong veteran Mark Blicavs, who will play in the AFL grand final some 900km away this afternoon.

The Blicavs family are accustomed to conflicting sporting schedules: on top of Sara and Mark's careers, older brother Kris played in the NBL1 with the Geelong Supercats and parents Andris and Karen were themselves professional basketballers.

While they may be used to missing out on seeing each other play, it can only be described as rotten luck that career highlights for two siblings have come on the exact same week.

"I'm super excited for Mark," Sara told AAP.

"I spoke to him today and wished him all the best.

"I really wish I could be there, the timing is just very poor at the moment.

"But it's super cool that we're doing this stuff together as well."

Mark's grand final appearance will be the second of his career but Sara missed the previous as well: Geelong made it to the 2020 decider, which was held in Brisbane when the state's COVID-19 border rules were at their most stringent.

Part of being an athlete is bouncing back when things don't go to plan, though, so Blicavs put a phone call into the Opals' hotel ahead of their rest day on Saturday.

"We have a training session and some physio treatment and then I've organised hiring the meeting room so the team can watch the grand final on the big screen," she said.

The current Opals squad pride themselves on their closeness but Blicavs said the three hours from 2:30pm Saturday were one time she wouldn't be up for a chat.

"I'm anxious, I'm nervous right now," Blicavs said with a laugh.

"We'll bring the family in and no one can talk to me during the game!"

Andris could well join the Opals given he is up in Sydney to cheer his daughter Sara on, while Kris and Karen are on grand final duty.

They may be dispersed for the weekend, but the support of the entire Blicavs clan will be felt by both Mark and Sara in their games this weekend.

"We all feed off each other well," Sara said.

"(Having the family's support) has a good calming effect."