Cyclones out to douse the Flames on home floor
BASKETBALL: Coach Chris Muggeridge says the Rockhampton Cyclones' defensive transition will need to be "spot on” when they take on ladder leaders, the Townsville Flames, on Sunday.
The stage is set for a thrilling afternoon of basketball at Hegvold Stadium with the Rockhampton Rockets up against the second-placed Townsville Heat.
Both Rockhampton teams are coming off good wins over Toowoomba last weekend and are keen to continue that winning form on their home floor.
Muggeridge said this was a huge game for the Cyclones.
"We went up to Townsville at the start of the year and they're about the only team that's beaten us convincingly,” he said.
"Obviously we're looking forward to the rematch to try to settle the score.
"It's going to be an exciting game; it will be a battle right to the end and it's definitely one we want to win, especially at home.”
The Cyclones will be without star shooting guard Brooke Blair, who is on national duty with New Zealand.
Their opposition will also be missing several key players, including Darcee Garbin, who are on Australian duties.
Muggeridge will be making an 11th hour decision on who will fill Blair's position.
"We've got a few contenders pushing hard for that spot in captain Katrina Clifford, Chloe Morrow, Ash Frampton and Jessie Lorraway,” he said.
"It will be a tough choice because all four of those players are in some very good form.
"Whoever gets that position to start I've no doubt will grab it with both hands and make the most of the opportunity.”
Muggeridge said that in the absence of Blair, he expected Townsville to do everything they could to shut down Cyclones' star imports Aaryn Ellenberg and Shanavia Dowdell.
"It's all on the line for Townsville,” he said.
"If they can win both of these games this weekend, they play us and Gladstone, they will lock away first spot and give themselves the chance to host a grand final.
"We want to be a little bit disruptive to their plans, and we want the momentum coming into finals.
"This is a game that we're definitely going to go as hard as we can at to try to win and give ourselves the opportunity to finish in the top four.”
Muggeridge said the Cyclones needed to be consistent, play smart and do the little things right.
"Our defensive transition needs to be spot on,” he said. "If we can control the boards and limit their fast break opportunities I think we can get them.”
Games at Hegvold Stadium on Sunday
- Noon: Rockhampton Cyclones v Townsville Flames
- 2pm: Rockhampton Rockets v Townsville Heat