The Frenchville Sports Club Cyclones have taken the first major step in their quest to defend last year’s State title with the signing of Chandrea Jones ahead of the 2016 QBL season.
What’s the first thing you do when looking to secure back to back Championships?
For Coach Chris Muggeridge it was ensuring that the Frenchville Sports Club Cyclones cocaptain and spiritual leader Chandrea Jones was locked in to once again lead his chargers. Jones alluded to a possible return during her post-grand final interview where she was awarded the finals MVP trophy in front of an ecstatic Hegvold Stadium crowd. But now it’s official.
“I’ve always said that Rockhampton feels like a home away from home for me, but each year that connection grows stronger”, explains Jones. “I love the city and I love the people which makes it easy to come out and play hard every single game”.
It’s a fact that is not lost on coach Muggeridge. “What Chandrea did last season, especially in the grand final series against Gladstone, was simply remarkable. She pushed her body to absolute breaking point. But then again, anyone who knows CJ would not be surprised by that at all”.
Jones has literally done it all within the sport. She’s played in some of the biggest leagues in the world including stints in Finland, France, and Luxemburg. Within the QBL Jones rates with the very best to have played; multiple All Star Five selections, a league MVP, and after last year’s success a QBL Championship.
Ahead of her fifth season with the Cyclones Jones reflects on the changes she has seen within the program. “We’re building something really special with the Cyclones. Each year we improve that little bit more. The culture within the team has changed as well. We see ourselves as winners now. And the Rockhampton community has really gotten behind us” says Jones full of gratitude.
Never was that more evident than during last year’s sold out grand final series. “I still get goose bumps when I think back to it. When the crowd started chanting MVP during the closing minutes; that was a very special moment for me.”
Basketball Manager Matt Neason says the signing is a real coup for Basketball in the region. “Jones is one of the most creative athletes to ever in play in our country, at any level”, Neason explained. “She does things that other players simply can’t do, and she does them two or three times a game”, he continued. “We are honestly very fortunate in Rockhampton to get to see players of CJ’s calibre”.
But Jones’ value runs far deeper than just on-court brilliance. She is a great mentor for the up and coming Cyclones, and even helps coach in the local U8 competition. “That’s one of the great things about our program” says Neason. “Yes we aim to win Championships, and we’ve been pretty successful in doing so, but ultimately we’re about building Basketball at all levels of the game.”
When asked what fans can expect ahead of the new season Chandrea’s response was short but sweet. “You’ll just have to wait and see”. It’s a telling response. For the people that know the softly spoken Jones well they understand that she lets her game do the talking.
Fortunately for the Cyclones faithful they won’t have to wait too long with the team set to kick in pre-season training early this month ahead of their Grand Final rematch with the Gladstone Power in round 1 of the QBL season on the 30th of April