Crowds to return as young guns prep for CQ Cup Clash
BASKETBALL: Live crowds will once again return to Adani Arena this weekend as the Rockhampton Rockets and Cyclones take to the court in a new senior representative competition.
The squads will on Saturday evening take part in the inaugural ConocoPhillips CQ Cup against Mackay – the first major game since the suspension of the 2020 NBL1 North season in March.
A first of its kind, the CQ Cup grants the four regional centres – Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone and Bundaberg – a chance to face off in an eight-week home and away fixture.
Rockhampton Basketball general manager Wade Rebetzke said the longstanding rivalry with Mackay would make for a stellar season opener.
“Obviously with the COVID-19 break it’s been really difficult to get any sort of crowd numbers in,” he said.
“We’re going to have limited space, but to have people in the Adani Arena watching the Rockets and Cyclones play is fantastic.”
Both teams will comprise of a predominantly local side as many of the younger fringe talent laces up for the showdown.
“We’re sort of treating this like an extended pre-season for a lot of these guys to see if they can make that next step to an NBL1 roster.”
Rockhampton Rockets coach Neal Tweedy said the squad had been kept busy through intra-squad showdowns in preparation for the game’s eventual return.
“We haven’t really played a lot of games against each other with just our local group of players, so it’ll be a good opportunity to see where the development is of both clubs.”
Confirmation of the CQ Cup also provides a platform for Tweedy’s young guns to show off their skills against a more mature Meteors line-up.
“They get an opportunity to play in front of the crowds and when the big lights come on it’s a different experience for that sort of players.”
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“It will give them a good opportunity to play major minutes at a much higher level than what they’re probably used to,” he added.
Jared Blanchard, Trevor Corrigan and Leon Christianson are also tipped to be big contributors in the intra-region clash.
Despite facing the mature squad, Tweedy said a focus on defensive principles and offensive structure would likely aid in containing Mackay’s scoring.
Rockhampton Cyclones will take to the court at 6pm, while the Rockets battle it out at 8pm at Adani Area.
Limited tickets are available via the Rockhampton Basketball Inc office only.