Rocky Basketball Manager previews a huge weekend of hoops
BASKETBALL: As Rockhampton's men's and women's representative teams head into their first three-game fixture of the 2019 season, Rockhampton Basketball manager Cameron Tragardh is confident the teams will be able to perform despite the distance travelled.
On Thursday evening, the Rockets and the Cyclones will take on Ipswich Force.
The teams will then head to Logan to take on the Logan Thunder on Saturday night before going up against the Gold Coast Rollers on Sunday afternoon.
"We're certainly covering some miles and it should be a very tough weekend," Tragardh said.
He worried both teams' preparation had not been ideal heading into the big fixture as neither the Rockets nor Cyclones had formulated a solid team before the season started.
"We should have plenty of talent and we're hoping that should mask a bit of a lack of preparation," he said.
"We haven't had bodies in town working the pre-season."
He said the men's rockets side had a tough week ahead of them, despite sitting above two of the three opponents on the ladder.
"The Ipswich team is a real gritty side that competes extremely hard," Tragardh said.
"They have a couple of good Americans including Kyle Harvey, who is one of the better players in the league.
"He will be a hard cover for us and our new recruit from Bundaberg, Ben Wright will have the big job of covering him."
Tragardh said the side had been lacking height in the first few rounds, but the inclusion of "big bopper" American Sean O'Mara at 6 foot 10 inches cleared to play.
Seven-foot-tall AJ Ogilvie will also be hitting the court at the weekend.
"We are pretty stoked to have our big boppers back up front," he said.
"Last week we couldn't get a rebound and we looked like a jockey squad against Rip City."
With momentum coming off the back of two wins on the trot, the women's Cyclones team looks to have a promising weekend ahead, and Traghardh agreed.
"The coach has done fantastically well, considering a few looming roster issues to be answered," he said.
"We're still spinning plates with the roster and this team unfortunately won't be the make up of the team for the entire season."
Star recruit Shyla Heal will miss game one of the weekend against Ipswich to national duty, but Alice Kunek will play game one.
On Saturday, the pair will share the court.
Heal, initially rostered to replace Kunek, has had blinding opening rounds with 37 and 19 points on the first two matches.
Former Australian forward and centre Abby Bishop will also join the team for the weekend, which will make for a high-calibre cyclones side.
The two sides will play the following weekend at home, followed by a bye which Tragardh said "couldn't come soon enough".
"The bye should give us a pretty good idea about what both teams will look like in the long term," he said.
He said developing the local talent base squad of both sides, while bringing the exported talent into the mix, was going to be a priority for both sides.
Tragardh singled out Trevor Corrigan as prospective local talent and believed his size would mesh well with the tall imports like O'Mara and Ogilvie.