Cairns Marlins fight Rocky hurt in QBL clash
HE'S in charge of the hottest team in the QBL at the moment, but Cairns Marlins coach Brad Burdon won't take anything for granted against competition heavyweights Rockhampton at the Bendigo Bank Basketball Centre tonight.
After a slow start to the season, the Marlins have rocketed into championship calculations on the back of an eight-game winning streak.
Their most recent victim was former ladder leaders Mackay, who they beat 100-91 at the Fish Tank, courtesy of a superb second quarter.
There’s little doubt the Marlins are the form team of basketball’s premier state competiton, but Burdon said his side’s preparation for Rockhampton hadn’t gone smoothly.
"We're a little bit wounded," he said.
"Billy Comino is out with an ankle injury and he’s arguably been our best player all season.
"Kerry Williams has had a virus and hasn’t been here all week. Short of him getting a miracle cure, he’s either not going to play or have limited minutes.
"And with Taipans training kicking into gear, Dusty Rychart and Aaron Grabau with have limited involvement.
"So, no disrespect to Rockhampton, but we’ve had to really focus on ourselves this week with everything that's been going on." The dramas the Marlins have experienced would cripple most other teams, but the coach said his club had enough depth to cover their player losses.
"We sort of pride ourselves on going 12 deep and a lot of the teams in the state don’t have that type of depth," Burdon said.
"This week we'll definitely be calling on our young guys to step up.
"They wait quietly for their chance and it just so happens that it’s come this weekend in the biggest rivalry game of the year."
The Marlins upset Rockhampton 97-94 on their home court in the round-eight clash and Burdon knows they’ll be out for revenge tonight.
But that won't bother him or his players.
"We want to be playing the power teams at the end of the year because we want to know where we have to be at," Burdon said.
Tip-off is at 8pm.
The Dolphins are also up against Rockhampton tonight and will be hoping to snap a two-match losing streak. Their match starts at 6pm.
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Punching on: Kerry Williams looks to drive to the basket in last week's clash with Mackay.