‘It’s win or go home’: Cyclones set for semi showdown
THE Rockhampton Cyclones beat Gladstone twice in the round games and will look to keep that winning record intact when they take them on in ConocoPhillips CQ Cup semi-final on Saturday.
But coach Ben Greany knows finals basketball is a different beast and his side will have to be switched on from the get-go to secure the win at Adani Arena.
“We have had good results against them but it’s semi-final basketball. It’s a completely different game – it’s win or go home,” he said.
“When you move into finals, it doesn’t matter what the results have been in the past – it’s what happens on the night.
“We have to be focused, we have to go in with the right attitude and we have to play hard.”
The Cyclones did just that in the last game of the regular season against competition frontrunners Mackay last weekend.
They led for the best part of the contest and were pipped by just three points.
It was a vast improvement from their Round 1 meeting when Mackay dominated, scoring a 42-point win.
Greany believes that heavy defeat was a blessing in disguise for the Cyclones.
“It’s probably the best thing that could have happened,” he said.
“We’d talked about training and intensity and then Mackay hit us like a freight train.
“I think that was the slap in the face everyone needed and they realised what it would take to compete with them.”
Greany said every player would have to play their role well on Saturday but especially Tai Wakelin-Gray, who has the unenviable task of containing the experienced Rebecca Haynes.
“Tai defending Bec is going to be vital,” he said.
“Briana Bailey and Katrina Clifford on the three-point line, they’ll play very important roles, as will Tori Rouse with her scoring ability inside in the keyway.
“We like to think the team chemistry is what really is our biggest strength.
“All the girls, regardless of whether they play 30 minutes or don’t play at all, they’re engaged through the whole game, they’re encouraging each other, and they bring the right attitude, so I think everyone is vital.
“We’re feeling confident going into the game against Gladstone. We can’t take it lightly but we’re definitely feeling good about it.
“Being on our home floor and having restrictions lifted so there’s bigger numbers in the crowd, it’s going to be great. I’m looking forward to it, I’m very excited.”
The game tips off at 6pm and will be followed by the men’s semi-final at 8pm between the Rockhampton Rockets and Gladstone.
ConocoPhillips CQ Cup semi-finals
6pm Saturday: Rockhampton Cyclones v Gladstone Port City Power, Adani Arena, Rockhampton
6pm Saturday: Mackay Meteorettes v Bundaberg Bears, McDonald’s Mackay Stadium
8pm Saturday: Rockhampton Rockets v Gladstone Port City Power, Adani Arena, Rockhampton
8pm Saturday: Mackay Meteors v Bundaberg Bulls, McDonald’s Mackay Stadium