Taipans mean business
CAMERON Tragardh will assume the role of stone-cold killer starting tonight against his first club, the Taipans' offensive weapon trying to prop up the club with a bit of tough love.
The former Croc admitted that he and fellow club leaders Jamar Wilson and Alex Loughton had been "too nice" and that had contributed to them continually failing to close out the contest.
It is good timing, considering tonight's Cairns-Townsville clash the 50th NBL Reptile Rumble will decide who takes the regular-season bragging rights.
Nine times in this campaign the Taipans (7-14) have lost games after being in a winning position, the problem rammed home last Saturday night when they let an 18-point lead slip against the last-placed Adelaide.
Wilson, Loughton and Tragardh are all contracted to play in Cairns beyond this season and the Melbourne recruit said it was time they drew a line in the sand.
"Myself, Alex and Jamar have probably let us down in that sense," Tragardh said.
"I know I've been happy being the good guy, when I've never really been the extremely well-liked teammate in the past. But I'll happily be a jerk if it means we win. Coming up to Cairns; I like it here, I like the team. But I've been cruising instead of holding people accountable and telling people how it is."
Frustrated by their poor decision-making during crunch moments this season, Tragardh told The Cairns Post last Saturday that this was the most mentally fragile he has played in since debuting for Townsville in 2004.
The saving grace for the veteran, though, has been the glimpses of brilliance in between their mental ineptitude and the hard-working nature at training during the week.
"I've been on teams that have just given up, not really cared and turned up to training with hangovers," he said. "But this team has heart, works hard and you've seen how well we can play. That means you can sleep at night.
"Certainly we're a tight team, but Fearne (coach Aaron Fearne) is right when he says we're too nice to each other when we should be grabbing blokes by the scruff of the neck."
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Toughen up: Cameron Tragardh says he and the Taipans will get tough with his old club the Crocs.