In a statement released by Basketball Australia, Elizabeth Cambage made herself unavailable for the three games series against Japan commencing on Monday, and therefore has since been ruled out of the FIBA Oceania Championships as well.
Opals head coach Brendan Joyce was forced to make the call on Cambage's exclusion after she reportedly chose to attend a music festival that saw her miss the first day of Opals training camp.
As disclosed in The Age by respected basketball journalist Roy Ward, Cambage chose to attend the Splendour on the Grass music festival in Byron Bay over the weekend despite the Opals camp commencing, in doing so going against team policy as described by Cambage's Opals teammate Rachel Jarry.
"It doesn't fit in with the culture we are building - you can't choose a music festival over a camp," Jarry explained to The Age.
"She is letting her teammates down and I just wish she could have been a part of these games but it's not to be. Liz is a good friend of mine and I'd love her to be a part of it but the team has to come first."
After spending the past ten months recovering from an Achilles injury, Cambage's decision to attend a musical festival over the first day of Opals training camp is a puzzling one, especially given the support Basketball Australia has provided during her rehabilitation from injury. It also follows Cambage's million-dollar deal to play in China next season.
While there may be more to this story, in not attending the first day of camp, she has disrespected her team, the coaches, administration and ultimately her country. Joyce therefore had little choice but to consider Cambage's non-attendance at camp as a decision to withdraw from the team. As a consequence, the exclusion has been extended to the FIBA Oceania Championships as well mirroring a policy that has apparently been applied to the Boomers who left Patty Mills out of the men's championships.
After recently signing a million-dollar deal to play in China, this is a blow to Cambage's planned return from injury. Whether this situation impacts on her potential availability or inclusion for the Opals in future is yet to be determined.
With seemingly untapped potential, one can only hope that Cambage is able to adhere to the same tune as her fellow Opals in future.
The Jayco Australian Opals squad: Suzy Batkovic, Sara Blicavs, Natalie Burton, Aimee Clydesdale, Katie-Rae Ebzery, Madeleine Garrick, Laura Hodges, Rachel Jarry, Alice Kunek, Tessa Lavey, Tess Madgen, Elyse Penaluna, Belinda Snell, Stephanie Talbot, and Kelly Wilson.
July 27 , 7:00pm AEST vs Japan @ Dandenong Basketball Stadium
Tickets Sold Out
July 29, 7:00pm AEST vs Japan @ Frankston Basketball Stadium
Tickets available via Frankston Basketball Association
July 31, 7:00pm AEST vs Japan @ Ballarat Minerdome
Tickets available online