Each week we catch up with four coaches in the league to get their take on the competition so far
This week’s video interviews are with Derek Rucker from the Gladstone Port City Power men’s team, and Peter Pollock from the South West Metro Pirates women’s team.
Andrew Latimer – Coach, Northside Wizards Men
“We really have been a team of two tales in the opening rounds. While we have secured comfortable wins, it was a tremendous defensive effort in round one holding Townsville to just 20 points in the second half that got us the win, while it was a scoring explosion in the third and fourth against South West that did the job.
“South West’s Ishmael Hollis is a legit talent who can score freely. His length and knock down shooting ability will bother plenty of teams this season. CJ Massingale was great for us along with Evan Coulter who has put together two very impressive stat lines over two games while our bench guys really stepped it up in the absence of Mitch McCarron and Nick Kay.
“We have worked on our team defense this week in preparation for the Mackay / Rockhampton double header. We can’t afford to have defensive lapses against these two teams so this has definitely been a focus. We have also been working on getting our bigs better touches in the paint. If we can get guys like Darren Moore and Alex Boardman going early and often we know it will open up the floor for our shooters.
“It’s an exciting year for the QBL. From what I’ve seen the standard of competition is higher than last season and crowd numbers seem to be up also. The south east Queensland teams seem to be attracting more fans and this is great for the league’s profile. The northern teams have always set the standard when it comes to getting fans through the turnstiles so it’s great to see fans league wide providing an awesome game-night atmosphere.”
Chris Muggeridge – Rockhampton Cyclones
“Round 3 and the Cyclones play at home for the first time this season against Northside Wizards. Northside are a talented team with Nadeen Payne, Aja Parham and Emma Langford bolstering there side. This is a game I’ve been looking forward to, Northside pushed us to our very limits last year and I expect the same this year. I know their results this season have been disappointing but I’m under no illusion, they are a well balanced side, very well coached and I’ve got no doubt that this game will go down to the wire.
“Last weekend’s triple header was a tough but rewarding weekend for the Cyclones winning all three games on the road and starting the season strong. Friday night’s game against Cairns went to the wire with the Cyclones hitting the winning layup with 1.3 seconds left on the clock. I thought this win showed exactly what the Cyclones are made of, as they pulled together and wiped away a 16 point deficit to beat Cairns on their home court and without Chandrea Jones – the 2014 QBL MVP. Saturday’s win against Gold Coast was pleasing was a much neater performance by the Cyclones, allowing us to win comfortably. Sunday’s game against Logan was the Cyclones’ best performance of the weekend, shaking off fatigue to dominate Logan on their home floor in front of a passionate Logan crowd.
“I’m pleased with our progress this season with our core group sticking together and our new recruits fitting in extremely well, giving us depth and strengthening our chances of winning our first ever Championship.
“This year the league is a lot tougher with all teams recruiting well in the off season, and if the first two rounds are an indication this year could be one of the closest and toughest seasons in a long time.”