Cairns Marlins v Townsville Heat
The Marlins will enter Round 5 coming off a home thumping of competition newbies the Seahawks. Despite the 30-point victory, Cairns are only 1-2 at Early Settler Stadium in the early stages of 2018. The Marlin’s Anthony Fisher continues to put up consistent numbers with 19 points and 8 rebounds in the victory, on an impressive 7-8 from the field and connecting on all five three-point attempts. Kuany Kuany finished with 20 of his own. Meanwhile the Heat are also coming off a thumping of the Seahawks, in their case winning by a whopping 39 points. Peter Crawford had a hot hand, finishing with 28 points on 9-11 from the field and similarly to Fisher had 5 three balls. In Justin Baker’s first game of the season he poured in 30 of his own to go along with 10 rebounds. On paper you could argue that with Baker back in the line-up and the additions of Froling and Jett this year’s Heat side looks stronger than their Championship winning team last year. This is a massive game between the QBL’s most northern teams and considering Cairns’ recent struggles at home and Townsville’s unstoppable offense, we are picking the road team to leave town with the W.
Rockhampton Rockets v Gladstone Port City Power
The Rockets have started 2018 in style with a 3-1 record, including big wins over Cairns on the road and the previously undefeated Mackay last week. Rocky were able to fight back from a sluggish start which saw them give up 15 points to the Meteors before scoring a single basket. Malcolm Bernard scored a game-high 27 points, whilst teammate James Mitchell was able to put a poor shooting night aside and record an impressive 10 rebounds, 8 assists and 5 steals. Rockhampton’s early season form has definitely put them near the top in the Championship race and they will be eager to add to their 2-0 record at Hevgold Stadium. Gladstone on the other hand went down to Mackay on the second night of their road double by a disappointing 16 points. The Power found themselves down by 21 at the major break and extended to as much as 26 throughout stages of the third quarter. Gladstone managed to shoot a higher percentage than their opponents for the game but by committing a whopping 30 personal fouls which resulted in 36 free throw attempts (29 made) for Mackay proved to be the difference in the game. It is difficult to see Gladstone recording their first victory of 2018 in this one. Rockets at home comfortably.
Ipswich Force v Toowoomba Mountaineers
Ipswich escaped Rowland Stadium with a one-point victory after a last second game-winner by Garrett Hall. The Force found themselves down 4 in the final thirty seconds before Kyle Harvey’s and Hall’s heroics led them to the unlikeliest of wins. Harvey continued his dominant form with 34 points and 10 rebounds, while Jason Ralph added 22 of his own. Toowoomba enter round 5 with a 1-4 record, coming off a 15-point road loss to South West Metro. Despite jumping out to an early 8-point buffer, a disappointing second quarter where the Mountaineers only managed 5 points for the entire term proved to be the difference in the contest. Harold Ridgeway was massive with 24 points and 12 boards for the road team. The squad will be looking for an increase in production from their bench who only managed 6 points on 2-15 shooting against the Pirates. Despite sitting at 2-2 Ipswich are yet to win on their home floor in 2018, but we fully expect them to break that trend this weekend and win comfortably against the Mountaineers.
Cairns Dolphins v Townsville Flames
The Dolphins sit 2-4 heading into a crunch game against rivals Townsville on Friday night. The Dolphins went down by 12 points to the Seahawks last week despite a huge effort from import N’Dea Bryant. Bryant top scored with 34 points and 10 rebounds in her first game for Cairns. Myra Donkin had 8 assists and 5 steals to go along with her 12 points, but the Dolphins were outmatched from the start against a fired-up Seahawks outfit. Cairns have won 1 out of their last 5 and will be desperate to put on a good showing against Townsville at home in front of a big crowd. The Flames remain undefeated in season 2018 after another strong win at home against the Seahawks last Friday. Micaela Cocks led from the front with 20 points, whilst Haylee Andrews had 19 and Miela Goodchild chipped in with 16. Teamwork has been the most impressive factor from Mike St Maurice’s team and their winning streak should continue this Friday based on the performances from both sides last week against the Seahawks. Townsville to win well.
Ipswich Force v Toowoomba Mountaineers
Ipswich are sitting pretty at the top of the table with a 4 & 0 record after another convincing win on the weekend, this time over the defending champions Southern Districts by 9 points. Amanda Johnson continued her amazing season with another 22 points and 15 rebounds in the win. Gintare Mazionyte and Georgia Williams were also strong combining for 25 points and 8 assists. The Mountaineers continue to struggle in 2018 and were thrashed once again on the weekend by the Pirates 109-42. Malena Washington and first gamer Donnaizha Fountain had 14 points each, however the next top score was just 6. Taylor Valach grabbed 9 rebounds and Kaila Gabriel had 3 steals, yet Toowoomba were completely outmatched by South West. It’s a worrying sign for Toowoomba this early in the season with the Mountaineers ranked last in points, shooting, assists and turnovers committed. Expect the Force to dominate on Friday and keep their perfect season going with a big win.
Rockhampton Cyclones v Gladstone Port City Power
Rocky were desperate to get a win last Friday and were good enough to beat their rivals Mackay by 15 points in a brilliant performance. Shanavia Dowdell was back to her powerful best scoring 24 points and collecting 16 rebounds for her team. Aaryn Ellenberg also put up 23 and 5 assists whilst Christina Boag led the team with 13 rebounds. Rockhampton and now 2 & 2 and come up against a Gladstone outfit searching for a big win after going down to Mackay by 19 points last week. Amanda Frost had a huge game for the Power scoring 28 points on 73% shooting from the field but ended up committing a staggering 10 turnovers. Milomilo Nanai had 12 points and both Briana Bailey and Ashleigh Kelman-Poto scored 10. Gladstone’s depth however is a problem with just seven players taking the court on Saturday and two having to play the entire game. Based on last week’s results against Mackay and the re-emergence of Dowdell, Rocky should pick up the W in this local derby.