New-look Taipans set for pre-season strike in Rocky
BASKETBALL: They have a new coach and a new-look roster and the CQUniversity Cairns Taipans cannot wait to hit the court in a pre-season clash in Rockhampton tonight.
The Taipans will take on the Brisbane Bullets in the annual NBL showdown at 7pm at CQUniversity's Rockhampton North campus sports stadium.
Both teams had hit-outs at Hegvold Stadium on Wednesday and visited several primary schools in the city yesterday.
Newly-appointed Taipans coach Mike Kelly said it was great to be involved in bringing elite-level basketball to the regions.
"I'm really excited for the whole week; one for us to get away and be together as a team and be on the road and go through everything that entails, and then also playing against a great Bullets squad,” he said.
"This is fantastic. I've coached in big cities and I've also played and coached in smaller cities and I know how much it's appreciated.
"The sport is really alive in smaller communities and I think when they see some of the bigger teams come through, it's really exciting for the whole community.”
Kelly has spent the past three years as assistant coach at Melbourne United and comes to the Taipans off an NBL championship-winning season.
"I've been around the league a long time and it's just growing and growing and getting stronger so I'm just excited to have a chance to lead this group,” he said.
Kelly is not the only new face at the club, with eight of the 11 rostered players newcomers, including imports DJ Newbill, Devon Hall and Melo Trimble.
Kelly said he had a really talented group and was keen to see what they could do on Friday.
Tickets for the game start from $20 adult and $15 children (five to 17 years). To book go to outix.co/tickets/event/NBL2018.