Soft underbelly lets Cairns Taipans down
TAIPANS fans ran home and took to their keyboards following another home game that "didn't go to plan" on Saturday night.
It should have been the perfect weekend a gutsy three-point win in Sydney one night followed by a rollicking victory at home against the bottom-placed Adelaide the next.
And up by 18 at half-time, it was all going to script.
But, in typical Taipan style this year, they inexplicably imploded to give up the lead in the final two minutes and lose by three (71-68).
A Jason Cadee three, made in traffic from well beyond the arc with less than three seconds on the clock, was the difference.
But it never should have come to that.
Less than two hours after the game more than 60 comments had been left on the Taipans' Facebook page under the post "Well. That didn't go according to plan. Adelaide win by 3."
Some pointed the finger at the coach, others at the refereeing and some just said Adelaide were too good.
There was only one theme that came from the post-match press conference, though, and that was one everyone agreed on.
"Ah, we're soft," coach Aaron Fearne said.
"It's been there for a majority of this season. There's this underbelly with us. I'm not going to hide it, it's there. Good teams have that great killer instinct (but we don't)."
Sitting alongside him, Cameron Tragardh said: "It's the mentally softest team but there's so much potential there," he said.
"I couldn't agree with Fearney more. We train and play hard but mentally I've got no answer to how we address it."
The fear was almost visible as it set in during the second half and Fearne agreed that he could see it unfolding from the sideline.
"It got to a point where a number of guys didn't even want to be on the floor. We start bleeding and (keep)bleeding and there's no on-court leadership and direction."
While the side took a risk in recruiting two Australian rookies in Cam Gliddon and Clint Steindl this season, Fearne denied it was the reason for their frailties.
"It's not on them. The Cams, the Alexes, the Jamars, the Grabaus. Those are the ones who need to step up and empower these guys," he said.
Indeed it was those players who failed to steady as Adelaide crept closer at one stage Tragardh missed seven straight shots as they went from 60-plus shooting to 37 per cent.
Grabau, playing his 400th game for the club, should escape the blame though.
He scored nine points in the opening five minutes before strangely being benched for the next 10 minutes. Five harsh fouls then went against him as he was fouled out having played less than nine minutes.
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Future force: Cameron Gliddon should take no blame for the loss against Adelaide. Picture: MIKE WATT