CREDIT: Sunshine Coast Daily – http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/coach-says-two-teams-could-pose-probelms-turning-t/3007669/
Basketball: Most of the players will know each other and some will be great mates, but there is still a few questions that will need to be answered when the Sunshine Coast’s newest state league local derby gets under way on Saturday night. Who will take early bragging rights in a new-look era for Coast basketball? And can the Coast sustain two sides in Queensland’s premier competition?
When the Sunshine Coast Phoenix Clippers face the new kids on the QBL block, the Sunshine Coast Rip at Syd Lingard Dr it could give players and fans a pretty strong indication.
Phoenix Clippers coach Warwick Meehl thinks the rivalry will “certainly” be there from the get-go.
“We know who these guys are and most of them are good mates, but on the night it will be a whole different story,” he said.
The former Kiwi great said his team’s preparation hadn’t been ideal during the off-season, with shoulder, knee, ankle, back and neck injuries wreaking havoc on his playing stocks.
But boosting the side in 2016 will be the club’s star-signing Jordan Page, who returns to the Maroochydore-based club after 10 years and a US college career with Saint Mary’s College, California.
Page last laced-up for the Clippers as a 15-year-old and after a stint out of the game, will return to follow his basketball dreams once more via the new-look side.
The 25-year-old’s career highlights include captaining Queensland’s under-20s to an Australian Championship in 2009 where he was named best and fairest, helping the Australian Junior Men’s team finish fourth at the 2009 World Championships and being invited to an Australian Boomers training camp in the same year.
His family history runs deep at the club, with grandparents Sid and Beryl Page its longest-serving members.
“It’s really nice to have him back,” Meehl said.
” He hasn’t played for a little while but decided to have another crack to see if he can get to the next level.
“Hopefully this is a stepping stone for him.
“He’s looking reasonably fit but doesn’t have many games under his belt.
“As a result, he’s still got quite a lot of improvement left in him.”
Meehl said it would take MORE than one player to lift the Phoenix Clippers, after the former Clippers side finished 10th last season.
“It’s the sort of year where we’ve got several guys which should contribute and share the workload and scoring,” he said.
“The key for us is how the team functions together as a unit.”
The returning coach is a strong advocate for basketball on the Sunshine Coast, but has his doubts whether another QBL team here is the right move.
With so much competition for sponsorship dollar, crowds and playing talent in Sunshine Coast sport, he said the fight would be on for fans and funds.
“The downside is you’re chasing the same sponsors, fans and players,” he said.
“There’s a few negatives in that respect.
“But in terms of individual players from the region it will give them more opportunities at a higher level unless (The Rip) buy in all their players.
“Their budget is far larger than ours.
“They’ll be a difficult prospect first-up.”
The match starts at 7pm.