Round 1 QBL Game Previews

QBL 2016 tips off this Friday 29 April! Check out the previews for the 16 games that make up a massive Round 1.

WOMEN

Friday 29 April

Logan Thunder v Bundaberg Bears

Logan: When Mikhaela Donnelly last season played well it usually resulted in a favourable outcome for the Thunder. Look for her to be fired up to get Logan off to a good start this season.

Bundaberg: Kylie Giles lining up for yet another season in the QBL will provide vital leadership for a Bear’s outfit with a lot of young local talent.

With the Logan Thunder just missing out on the QBL Playoffs in their return to the league last season in a very tight Central Pool, it again demonstrates the importance of winning pool games early on. Look for them to be fired up and ready to pounce at home against Bundaberg who seemed to struggle against them last season.
Saturday 30 April

Ipswich Force v Gold Coast Rollers

Ipswich: Although only 14 years old, Shyla Heal has proved she can match it with the bigger and older players during the WNBL. She will be out to impress her new team with sister Ashleigh after jumping ship from the Pirates during the off-season.

Gold Coast: New recruit Nadeen Payne was a force last season for the Wizards’, she will be taking on a leadership role at the Rollers off and will be determined to get them off to a perfect start.

With both sides seemingly very different roster to last season, it will be hard to predict a winner in this one. Ipswich have always been tough at home, so Gold Coast will need to bring their “A game” if they are knock them off.

Sunshine Coast Phoenix Clippers v Sunshine Coast Rip

Sunshine Coast Phoenix Clippers: During a disappointing 2015 season, Ishoa-Jade Cook really stood up despite this and proved she could get it done; look for this season to be no different.

Sunshine Coast Rip: Ondrea Beasley will have the Rip organisation ecstatic judging by her play at the QBL Blitz last weekend. She is sure to be a force this season.

In a battle of the Sunny Coast, the Rip will be eager to prove that they belong in the QBL. Imports Ondrea Beasley and Francis Dongers will be a formidable duo and the older heads of the Clippers will need to be on their game to register the win.

South West Metro Pirates v Toowoomba Mountaineers

SWM: Sidney Parsons will prove to be a massive signing after opting to return to the Pirates’ this season. She will need to be at her best for South West to return to the playoffs in September.

Toowoomba: Kirby Lennon had some big games last season despite her relatively young age. She will need to be at her best to snap their current losing streak which dates back to 2014.

With Toowoomba struggling to win a game last season, the team is sure to begin turning the tide and get 2016 off to a perfect start. The Pirates however will want to get a key pool-win early season to kick-start their season.

Brisbane Capitals v Bundaberg Bears

Brisbane: Amy Lewis proves the most experienced player on the Capitals roster which otherwise is very young across the board. Her international experience will be a big factor to Brisbane’s success.

Bundaberg: Kellie Page would love to flex her muscles on the young Capitals roster and really show her dominance in order for Bear’s to go 2/2 this road trip.

Bundaberg sweeping this early road trip will be a massive coup for the coaching staff and they will go all out to achieve this. The Capitals however are always tough to beat at NAB Stadium with massive help from their big and boisterous crowd.

Mackay Meteorettes v Cairns Dolphins

Mackay: The Meteorettes reign of three-straight championships ended last season and they will need Jillian Haughton to fire this season if they are to work their way back to the top.

Cairns: Captain Jade Kennedy returns and will be hungry lead this Dolphins unit to an upset win after a solid season last year.

Mackay’s aura at “The Crater” diminished last season and they will be exceptionally keen to rectify that. Cairns will need to have their stars fire and keep the loud crowd quiet if they are to get up in this clash.

Rockhampton Cyclones v Gladstone Power

Rockhampton – The return of 2013 league MVP Shanavia Dowdell further strengthens a daunting Rocky outfit hell-bent on doubling up their maiden championship from last season.

Gladstone – With a number of departures during the off-season Madelyn Willey will find herself deep into a leadership role despite her tender age, however she has the class to step up.

An instant replay of the 2015 Grand Finals with Rocky maintaining a virtually unchanged line-up while Gladstone will be looking to surprise with plenty of fresh faces. Now possessing two league MVP’s in their line-up in Dowdell and Jones, Rocky look primed to start this campaign how they finished the last one, however it would be naïve to write Gladstone off in this always hotly contested CQ derby.

Sunday 1 May

Townsville Flames v Cairns Dolphins

Townsville: Townsville will surely call upon seasoned player Sigourney Thompson to fire after just missing out on the playoffs last season in a tough Northern pool.

Cairns: Double-Double machine Rachel Pryor returns to the Dolphins this season after a fantastic campaign last year, and will surely prove a handful for Townsville.

With the Northern pool always proving tight and very strong, early season wins prove even more important. Both sides will be ready to go in this derby which promises to be entertaining.
MEN

Friday 29 April

Logan Thunder v Bundaberg Bulls

Logan: The Thunder would be happy to get the signatures of Tommy Ammar and Mitchell Young, both players who will bring professional experience for this outfit.

Bundaberg: Daniel Sims is a major signing for the Bulls, his scoring and explosiveness will be key to help out Willie Shackleford on the offensive end.

Although struggling last year, the Bulls have looked to make major improvements to their roster, adding bigger bodies with more experience. This may prove the difference, however the Thunder look pretty stacked and will be tough to beat at home.

Saturday 30 April

Ipswich Force v Gold Coast Rollers

Ipswich: James Legan’s offensive talents almost upset big-name sides last season in and will have a huge role for coach Mick Conlon again this season.

Gold Coast: New mentor Pero Cameron has brought back experienced names in McGregor, Darragh and Green which will make the Roller’s ultra-competitive this season.

With the Force missing some big names due to college commitments they will be a little under-manned. However the talent of names like Legan and Harvey should go a long way in providing more than enough firepower to beat this new-look and tough Rollers outfit.

Sunshine Coast Phoenix Clippers v Sunshine Coast Rip

Sunshine Coast Phoenix Clippers: The Clippers bringing back Warrick Meehl is a good move for the organisation, his coaching experience will be needed to beat an explosive Rip outfit.

Sunshine Coast Rip: Former NBL Recruit Lance Hurdle showed his class at the Blitz last weekend and looks to be an MVP calibre player for the new kids on the block.

Sunshine Coast Rip will be led by Hurdle and fellow import Harrison who provide a formidable combination during their inaugural season. The Clippers outfit however is very experienced and will not roll over without a fight. The debut of the league’s newest local derby looks to be a fiery affair.

South West Metro Pirates v Toowoomba Mountaineers

SWM: The Pirates look improved with the key signings of Vines, Teys and Bairstow. The experience they’ll bring will be a massive boost in both the long and short term.

Toowoomba: With last season’s MVP Kendle leaving, the void will now be filled by fellow former Bellarmine University guard Chris Whitehead, who looks to be just as talented.

After a busy off-season, the Pirates look improved and can possibly match it with the best. The Mountaineers however are fresh off a semi-final berth last season and will be keen to show they deserve to go back this season.


Brisbane Capitals v Bundaberg Bulls

Brisbane: Aaron Anderson headlines the Caps key signings this season after helping orchestrate the team’s dream run to the Grand Final series last season.

Bundaberg: Tenacious double-double machine Willie Shackleford again returns for the Bulls and the front office in Bundy will regularly be asking for continual huge stat lines again this season.

For a few seasons now, the Capitals have consistently proved a real benchmark for all the teams in the south. Their exciting game-style often proving too hot for opposition teams, the Bulls will need to slow things down in order to match it with the best and cause an upset.

Mackay Meteors v Cairns Marlins

Mackay: Mackay again possess a formidable outfit this year with brother of NBA Superstar Andrew Wiggins, Nicholas, leading the key signings. Shaun Bruce, DJ Diop and Chris Cedar also are key signings.

Cairns: Seasoned QBL and NBL Offensive gun, Cameron Tragardh, returns to the Cairns line-up and will provide headaches for every coach in the league this season.

With both sides looking very stacked this season, this should prove to be an entertaining and interesting north match up. QBL powerhouse Mackay are fresh off another championship and won’t be keen to relinquish “Top Dog” status despite the departure of influential coach Joel Khalu.

Rockhampton Rockets v Gladstone Power

Rockhampton: The experienced Shaun Gleeson looks to be a smart pickup who will be a leader at the Rockets as they begin a regeneration throughout the squad

Gladstone: Ray Willis was amongst the best players in the league last season and his return for 2016 is a huge coup for the Power eager to build on last year

To many the unthinkable happened in 2015 when the Power knocked over ‘big brother’ Rockhampton in the quarters. After several mediocre years in the league it was a huge turnaround for the Power, who ended up falling agonisingly short of a GF berth, and they will be desperate on Saturday night to demonstrate it was no fluke. Rockhampton on the other hand will want to prove the tide hasn’t turned and they are still amongst the league elite, while they won’t want to again suffer defeat to their local rival at home.

Sunday 1 May

Townsville Heat v Cairns Marlins

Townsville: Townsville will be ecstatic to get the signing of NBL veteran, former Boomer and Olympian Peter Crawford and will hope he can lead this Heat outfit to big things this season.

Cairns: Alex Loughton is another name that may scare some teams around the league as he will provide even more firepower to this beefed-up Marlins outfit.

Townsville will be hoping to get off to a good start this season after a slow start hurt them last year. Cairns however will be on the back of their hit-out against the powerhouse Meteors outfit and their experienced signings will be looking for blood in a contest that always means plenty for these old foes.

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