Congratulations to Rodney Anderson, Townsville Heat and Chris Muggeridge, Rockhampton Cyclones on being the first coaches of the month for #QBL16
Men Team: Rodney Anderson – Townsville Heat
A perfect 5-0 start through the first month against hot opposition, Rodney Anderson has got Townsville firing to be the league’s early pace-setters. His second year in charge, Anderson has got the Heat through a number of crucial games early on and at this stage look primed to make a return to finals action for the first time since 2013.
Opening the season with a blockbuster derby against Cairns, the Heat got the momentum rolling straight away 100-84, however lying just ahead were four consecutive games against 2015 finalists. Round 2 saw Townsville travel the Warrego and they made it through with apparent ease, firstly taking down the Mountaineers then only 18 hours later accounting for the Force. It didn’t get easier in Rounds 3 and 4 when they had to defend their court against the might of Brisbane then Rockhampton, but again they got the job done 101-77 and 99-90 respectively . The Heat’s early dominance of the league so far is evident by the fact all their victories have come in double figures, aside from a near-miss against Rocky, while their offense has been unstoppable having eclipsed the triple figure mark three times already this season.
Following several seasons acting as the team’s assistant, Anderson took the helm in 2015 and oversaw the Heat to a solid 8-8 record, but such was the immense talent in the north this still only placed them bottom of the pool. However plenty of hard work in the off-season, along with quality additions in Crawford and Wilcher, has enhanced the squad enough to not only match but exceed their rivals. Anderson has instilled a ruthless intensity into the side which has been on display across all games this season, and now the onus is on the rest of the league to rise and prove they are able to match them.
Women Team: Chris Muggeridge – Rockhampton Cyclones
After a historic championship in 2015, the Cyclones looked to have been suffering an off-season hangover when they allowed Gladstone to earn some redemption in Round 1. This obviously served as a wake-up call, and to the credit of head coach Chris Muggeridge, he immediately lifted his side back to the level expected and closed out the opening month riding a five-game wave.
The Cyclones got over their opening round stumble, and their home record back in the positive, with big wins over the much-improved Logan then the following week over Toowoomba. Less than two days after the Mountaineers clash they hit the road face a fresh arch-rival in Mackay. Dogged by poor shooting in the first half, a shift in strategy enabled them to claw their way back and hold tight for a crucial 76-71 win. There was time to relax however with the northern double awaiting them the round, starting this in emphatic fashion dismantling the Dolphins 101-96. Next was arguably the toughest task so far this season taking on the then undefeated Townsville, however they matched it with the star-studded line up to come away 97-86 victors, in the process leaping into top spot of the pool.
Now his third season in charge, Muggeridge has been able to retain much of last years’ squad plus the added bonus of Shanavia Dowdell returning for her second stint with the team. It would have be a challenging task for Muggeridge to regroup and re-motivate the squad following the emotion of securing a first ever title last year, however despite the early blip, he has guided the team through plenty of difficult obstacles to be well on track after the opening stretch of the season.