Romeo rejoins Cyclones for payback
IT'S payback time for Hog's Breath Cafe Rockhampton Cyclones star Nicole Romeo.
Romeo, who joins the Cyclones for her second QBL women's season after the completion of the WNBL season, said her return this year was about repaying the club for standing by her last season.
In her first outing for the Cyclones last year, the team's star recruit suffered a broken thumb, which sidelined her for six weeks.
It was a huge blow to the team and Romeo said a club would normally find a replacement import immediately.
“Usually a club would send players home if they're out for that length of time, but they kept me here with the squad,” Romeo said.
“I guess they wanted to keep me around the team to help the players out, to offer advice to the younger players.”
The 166cm tall point guard suits up in the Cyclones colours for their round-one clash against Bundaberg at Hegvold Stadium tomorrow night and is eager to get out in front of a vocal home crowd.
“I love playing here. When you go back to play in Adelaide, you're usually playing in front of just your mum and your family and friends, but here everyone in the whole town gets behind the team,” she said.
Romeo, who helped Canberra to a WNBL grand final appearance, said she was looking forward to getting back on the court after the disappointing 103-78 grand final loss to Bulleen in March.
“We were really disappointed. It was definitely disappointing, not only to lose the grand final, but because we lost by so much,” she said. “They just had an unreal game. The way they played that day they would've beaten (WNBA team) the Seattle Storm.”
Romeo jumped off the plane and straight on to the court earlier this week and was impressed with what she saw from the Cyclones coaching staff, led by head coach Peter Trenerry and assistant Stuart Reoch.
“Coaching-wise it's much more organised this season,” she said.
“We've got a lot more variety in our structure this year.”
It's the combination of the structure, the strength of the club's junior base and the quality of the team's roster that Romeo believes will suit the style of play the Cyclones hope to play this season.
“Australian basketball is a quicker game these days, so you need to be organised on-court,” she said.
“The structure we've got is set up so you can just jump straight into it on court.”
One of the juniors that Romeo has been particularly impressed by is Grace McDougall, who Trenerry has earmarked to play a key role in the Cyclones team this season.
“She's always keeping me on guard at practice,” Romeo said.
Catch tomorrow's Bully for a full preview of the Republik Rockets' round-one QBL clash with Bundaberg.