OUR very own Jade Melbourne is in the running to be a part of the Australian Opals side that hopes to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Traralgon’s Melbourne was named in the 20-player squad, from which 12 of those players will be selected to represent Australia in the qualifiers to face Brazil, Germany and Serbia.

“Every time I get named in an Opals squad; I get super excited. Representing my country is the pinnacle for me, there’s no higher honour,” Melbourne said.

“I’m going to do everything I can to hopefully get on that plane to Brazil to help the team qualify, so then I’m one step closer to achieving the ultimate goal of playing at the Olympic Games.

“I’m just continuing to work on my game, help my (Capitals) team and I truly believe by doing that the rewards will come.”

The Australia squad is stacked, so there will be plenty of competition for the 12 spots up for grabs.

Of the 20 selected, seven of those are currently on WNBA lists, while a further five have WNBA experience.

Some of the names included should not be looked past, with the likes of Australia’s greatest female basketballer, Lauren Jackson, and 2023 WNBA champion Cayla George in the squad.

Sisters of AFL footballers also make the cut, including Sara Blicavs – brother of Geelong’s Mark, and Tess Madgen – brother of the former Collingwood player, Jack.

Melbourne will not be alone, with a couple of her teammates from WNBL side UC Capitals, as well as WNBA Seattle Storm.

She will be joined by teammates Ezi Magbegor (Storm) and Marianna Tolo (Capitals), competing for a spot to play for their country.

The qualifiers will take place from February 8 to 11, 2024 in Belem, Brazil.

The Opals must finish within the top three of their group in order to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.