Rockets and Cyclones head into round one against rivals
BASKETBALL: Rockhampton Rockets and Cyclones head into their first round of the season this weekend, taking on rivals Gladstone Port City Power.
"Every time we're in Gladstone, it's a unique atmosphere there. It's a different type of stadium,” Rockets' Jimmy Mitchell said.
"I'm sure they'll have a good crowd. I don't know too much about what to expect from Gladstone.
"Everyone is working really hard, especially the young guys too.
"The locals have been stepping their confidence up especially with those Mackay games where they showed they could play there.”
With new NGL talent added to the side, Adam Gibson, Shaun Bruce, and AJ Ogilvy, Mitchell said the team is working well together.
"Shaun and I have been playing together a while now and Bruce finds Trevor Corrigan a lot on that pick and roll,” he said.
"AJ is long and athletic and kills it at the end of the L level and I'm excited to see what he'll do for us.
"To have that presence down low, we can pass to him and let him go to work and defensively we'll have him there to block shots if we make mistakes.
"We've got some good defenders. I'm a good defender, Bruce, Gibson, we're all good defenders. When Jamaal (Robateau) is back, he's good too.
"I think we'll hopefully be able to clock them up and have that for the whole season.”
Mitchell said coach Neal Tweedy has speculated their opposition may "sit in the zone a bit”.
He also said that if the Rockhampton side could play the way they wanted, they would be "alright”.
"I want to get that number one seed for the whole season so we get home play-offs,” he said.
Cyclones' point guard Akaysha Muggeridge said she felt confident going into round one.
She said a new team signing in "very talented” Jacinta Vandenberg was expected to bolster the team.
Fill-in Shyla Heal was signed by the Cyclones to provide cover for the first two rounds before the arrival of Alice Kuneck, Abby Bishop and Vanderberg.
"I'm extremely excited to be playing with Shyla, she's very talented,” Muggeridge said.
"We're really bonding as a team which is pretty good. It's extremely important to get a win against Gladstone.
"They're our rivals and we just want to beat them.
"It's my first year playing so it's pretty exciting to get on and see how it goes.”
Muggeridge said despite being a young new addition to the squad, she was hoping to continue working her way up and navigating her role.
"We have a positive team and we're keeping the energy and I think we'll go pretty good for top position,” she said.
"Gladstone is not a big team but I feel like they're really quick and physical.”
Heal said despite missing a few "major pieces of the puzzle”, she was hoping the squad could come together to play as hard as they could for the win.
"I'm hoping to bring a lot of leadership, points on the board hopefully and to bring my team mates into games with assists, that's how I play getting around my team mates,” she said.
"After this I'm going to the U19 Australian camp so hopefully I make the team for that and go to Bangkok for the World Cup.
"I'm in preparation for the WBL season as well.”