Taipans look to make statement against NBL champs
WHEN it comes to fond memories of New Zealand, it is slim pickings for Alex Loughton.
But the proud Taipans captain hopes that will all change when the side makes its first appearance at the Vector Arena tomorrow night
In fact, Loughton has dared to dream that the Taipans will return to Cairns with a 6-6 record following their tough NBL double away from home this weekend.
An upset of New Zealand in Auckland, followed by a win in Melbourne on Sunday afternoon, would ‘‘send a statement’’ to the rest of the league, Loughton said.
‘‘We’d be back at 500 (six wins, six losses) and that’s a great place to be,’’ he said.
Having played and lost a grand final series against the Breakers in the hostile North Shore Events Centre, Loughton is no stranger to the Kiwi welcome directed at visiting teams.
‘‘I don’t think we’ve won there since I’ve been here in Cairns and I can’t remember whether I ever won there with the Wildcats,’’ Loughton said.
‘‘It’s been a tough place to visit but that was North Shore. Vector Arena could be a neutral playing ground.
‘‘It’s a nice floor, big arena and it might not feel like a Breakers’ home game.’’
All feelings aside, the forward heads across the ditch today confident that the Taipans can harness their potential and correct their poor record in New Zealand.
After a string of inconsistent games, the Snakes blew then ladder leaders Wollongong away in a convincing return to form, before a last round bye.
‘‘I’m excited about it. In the last two weeks of training, there has been a consistency and we’re playing well. Dubbs (Jamar Wilson) has been making plays, I’ve been hitting shots. It needs to carry over now,’’ he said.
NEW CAIRNS.COM.AU COMMENT POLICY
We welcome your comments on this story. Comments are submitted for possible publication on the condition that they may be edited. Comments submitted without a full name and suburb/location will not be considered for publication. Please read our full comment policy and publication guidelines.
Share this article
Upping the ante: Taipans captain Alex Loughton sees Thursday night's clash against New Zealand as a breakout opportunity for his team.