ENJOYING THE JOURNEY: Sam Norwood and Rebecca Haynes have played top-notch basketball all year to help the Rockhampton Cyclones to the QBL finals.
ENJOYING THE JOURNEY: Sam Norwood and Rebecca Haynes have played top-notch basketball all year to help the Rockhampton Cyclones to the QBL finals. Mike Richards

Haynes on a high for finals-bound Cyclones

NOW she is preparing to play a Queensland Basketball League semi-final against Bundaberg, Rebecca Haynes can't believe she nearly didn't lace up her shoes at the start of the season.

After playing for the Port City Power for five years, Haynes was ready to call a day on her career.

That was until she got a call from the Rockhampton Cyclones.

After considering the travel, how much time it would be away from her young family and an inward search of her motivation, the versatile player was on board with what coach Chris Muggeridge had to say.

The success has been made better for Haynes, who still lives in Gladstone, because she is sharing it with fellow Gladstone player Sam Norwood.

"It is not as hard as we thought. It has been good because we share it going up and back together," Haynes said.

Having played for Rockhampton back before her Power days, Haynes was re-introduced to a team with a number of the same players as when she left.

It was a homecoming of sorts for her.

For Norwood, it was the same situation as the start of 2014.

She had to grow accustomed to a new system, new players and new ideology like she did in Gladstone.

It didn't take long though, wins helping enforce the message and feeling that everything was heading in the right direction.

"Everyone has been lovely," she said. "We have had our ups and downs but we still had the confidence we needed."

The two Gladstone residents have been a big reason why the Cyclones look like they will host the Queensland Basketball League grand final series.

A win over Bundaberg on Saturday night is all it takes to hold the best-of-three grand final series at Hegvold Stadium.

Haynes and Norwood have combined to average 26 points, 18 rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocks per game.

Haynes admits there are nerves heading into finals time but still believes Rockhampton is better than any team, especially in a series of three games.

The only team remaining in the competition to beat Haynes and Norwood this year is Ipswich.

Living in Gladstone and playing all the teams has allowed the two players to do a lot of independent research.

"I have been able to watch teams play here in Gladstone, it is scouting two teams at once, which is a bonus," she laughed.

"We know what to expect and what other teams are throwing at us."



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