Tait set for Cairns Taipans debut
NEW Taipans signing Lindsay Tait is expected to be thrown straight into the action on New Year's Eve when the Sydney Kings come to Cairns.
Tait, who has played in the NBL for the New Zealand Breakers and Wollongong Hawks, will be a back-up point guard.
Original back-up point guard Kerry Williams is out of action due to a season-ending injury and the Taipans have struggled to get flexibility from the NBL in their bid to replace Williams.
Taipans general manager Mark Beecroft said the club had been unsuccessful in its appeal against a ruling on allowing it to sign an unrestricted player to replace Williams, the team’s required Australian under-24 player.
As a result, Gareth Dawson will be elevated into the starting 10 as the new under-24 player, meaning there will be competition for the last roster spot.
"We have room in our salary cap and points to sign an 11th player, so we've done that with Lindsay and Gareth will now be our under-24 player," Beecroft said.
"As we move into the second half of the season, we felt we needed some extra punch in the backcourt and we believe Lindsay can provide that.
"He's an experienced player, having represented New Zealand, and his ability to back up Ayinde Ubaka in the point guard position is going to be crucial for us as we continue our push to the playoffs."
Taipans coach Aaron Fearne said Tait would be invaluable coming off the bench, providing scoring punch and defence.
"Lindsay is a guy who can create a shot for himself, but more importantly find the open man on a drive," Fearne said. "And defensively, we want him to be up-and-in, creating headaches for opposing point guards."
Tait, 28, has already arrived in Cairns and started training with his new teammates in the build-up to Friday’s game against Sydney at the Cairns Convention Centre.
Fearne said Dawson would also now get an opportunity at the top level, having been one of the club's designated development players.
"He has to keep working hard, like he has, and take every chance that might come his way," the coach said.