basketball: Cyclones Juanita Putman.
basketball: Cyclones Juanita Putman. Allan Reinikka ROK130419acyclone

Cyclones eye off top four spot on the ladder with new talent

BASKETBALL: Kicking off five games straight at home after last weekend's bye, Rockhampton Rockets and Cyclones are in a sweet position to continue to climb this season's QBL ladder.

Sitting comfortably in third place, the Cyclones are looking better than ever, with a 5-1 winning streak and taking out round four against Gladstone Port City Power Surge.

There are also two impressive imports expected to further strengthen the squad.

New point guard and American import, Jessica Thomas, will arrive Saturday morning in a move that's expected to be a "massive boost” for the team.

"She played college for Miami and has just finished a stint in the Euroleague in Greece for the Olympiacos, playing the best teams in the world,” Muggeridge said.

"Her stats are amazing. She's averaged 16 points and five assists a game. That's massive.

"We expect her to come here and be just as good in QBL.”

Despite Brook Blair and younger locals doing a "fantastic job” in filling the void of Thomas' position, the specialist point guard is expected to take the team to a "whole new level”.

"She's played in one of the best leagues in the world and there's a reason for that. She's just that good,” Muggeridge said.

Despite the exciting new addition's prowess on the court, Muggeridge is planning on keeping Thomas on the sidelines this Saturday, and letting her adjust to the team before she takes the court in round seven.

"We're very confident. We're in fantastic form right now,” coach Chris Muggeridge said.

"I've got huge faith in our local talent and our team. We've got some great momentum and I think we can get the job done if we just keep playing the way we have over the past two or three weeks.

"We're super confident we get get the job done at home and another boost in the arm is Jacinta Vandenberg who just arrived and will have her first game of the season.”

Cairns Dolphins are currently sitting 14th on the ladder, with one win out of eight.

Muggeridge said despite the opposition's tough start to the season, this weekend will see the squad at full strength for the first time this season.

"We expect them to be strong. It will be a good game,” he said.

Muggeridge encouraged fans to come out early and support the girls throughout what is sure to be an action-packed game.

Rockets' coach Neal Tweedy was hoping to follow up round four's win with another series of victories in front of a home crowd.

"We're still carrying that confidence into this week,” he said of their last win.

"Cairns Marlins is a well-coached team. They lost the grand final series to a very good Townsville team last year and we know that they are bringing a lot of quality.

"They won last week quite convincingly against Townsville at home and are starting to hit their stride in the middle of the season.

"They've got a line-up to match our size with Ogilivy and O'Mara. It will be a physical game.”

Currently sitting 7th on the ladder, Rockets are "still building” their squad, with Jamaal Robateau returning this weekend from a hand injury.

"That's another body we've got to get used to our style of play. Each week we're having changes that are going to affect certain things on the floor,” Tweedy said.

"He's a quality player and his experience should fit nicely into our guard position.

"They are going to have some difficulty guarding us, as much as us guarding them.”

Tweedy said this Saturday night will focus on starting the team's offensive and defensive schemes.

"It always takes time to bring that in,” he said.

"It takes a number of games before we're playing at our best.”

QBL Round Six

Rockhampton Rockets v Cairns Marlins, 8pm June 1 at Adani Arena

Rockhampton Cyclones v Cairns Dolphins, 6pm June 1 at Adani Arena



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