Shaun Bruce – Mackay Meteors
Mackay fell agonisingly short of repeating last years’ feat and getting through a triple roadie in the south, falling at the death in their last game by a solitary point against Brisbane who can now claim some minor revenge after last years’ GF defeat. Nonetheless, a two-from-three weekend has put Mackay’s season back on track and they now find themselves in a solid position with the halfway point approaching. On the back of a number of quality performances this season, Shaun Bruce stamped his class again throughout the entire weekend to get the nod for the Men’s Round 6 Player of the Week.
Playing big minutes in all games, Bruce made sure the Meteors began strongly with 19 points, 11 assists and 5 rebounds to inflict the Phoenix Clippers first loss of 2016, 99-88. He then led a 4th quarter fightback to overcome a gallant SC Rip 78-77 with a team high 22 points paired with 7 rebounds. Lastly he showed there was plenty more in the tank to almost complete a triple road sweep against Brisbane, doing all he can with a game highs 27 points and 9 rebounds while causing constant headaches with ball in hand with the Caps giving up a round high 12 fouls against him.
A former Australian junior rep, Bruce was a star performer in the QBL for Cairns Marlins the past two seasons where during this time he also spent three seasons with their NBL franchise, the Taipans.
Recruited by Mackay to fill the void of left by several departing stars from last year’s triumphant campaign, Bruce has more than proved his worth and his current form will be a pleasing sight for the Brisbane Bullets staff who contracted him for their NBL return.
In other shining performances for Round 6, Bruce’s teammate Tidjane Diop was also outstanding in shooting over 60% across all three of Mackay’s games while bringing down plenty of boards, Peter Crawford proved he still has the goods with a 26pt outing for Townsville as they kept their undefeated campaign rolling against Gladstone, while Willie Shackleford put behind him a poor outing at SWM and showed he can also be a playmaker with a superb triple double of 27pts-20-rebs-11asts as Bundy held their nerve in a double OT win over Toowoomba
Carly Boag – Bundaberg Bears
A weekend that could prove influential come later in the season, Bundaberg had a very happy road trip by sweeping past pool rivals South West Metro then Toowoomba. On the back of this the Bears catapulted into the top half of the ladder and more importantly a clear top two pool position, a lot of this coming down Carly Boag who takes out Player of the week for Round 6.
First up the Bears took down the Pirates 96-77 and Boag was the central figure for the visitors in racking up team highs of 31points, 12rebounds and 4 steals. Backing up less than 24 hours later the Bears chipped away at the Mountaineers to finally close out 72-60, which again Boag had the most impact despite being on court less than 25 mins. Another double double on the back of relentless work on the boards, she finished with 19 points and 16 rebounds whiile also again leading the way in winning possession for her team with 3 steals.
Joining the Bears last season after a record breaking career at Minot State University, Boag immediately impressed in the QBL which didn’t go unnoticed by the Sydney Uni Flames who suited her up in every game the past WNBL season. This experience has had a profound effect on Boag who has taken her game to another where this year where she currently finds herself 4th in the league for average rebounds, 6th average points and 8th average steals. Along with the consistent solid support she has been receiving from Page, Quick, as well as twin sister Christina, the Bears promise to surprise again this season and early on have their sights firmly set on back-to-back finals appearances.
Other notable performances in Round 6 included Deanna Weaver and Tami Willey hitting big numbers across Mackay’s triple success on the road, Kate Gaze posting a round high 35pts as Logan knocked off the then undefeated Gold Coast, while Markell Walker amassed two double doubles to shine despite Gladstone’s unsuccessful weekend in the far north.