2019 QBL Season Preview

Amanda Johnson | Credit: Fan Fair

With the 2019 Queensland Basketball League season tipping off on Friday, we take a look as to how the rosters have shaped up and make an early prediction for the top four come season end.

Women

Top Four

1 | Ipswich Force

The Force will look to take a step further in 2019.

After a WNBL season with the Sydney Uni Flames, Force star Amanda Johnson will look to reassert her dominance in the state league and is a favourite to win back-to-back Most Valuable Player titles.

2 | Southern District Spartans

Will the ‘Dark Side’ go back-to-back to back in 2019?

Last season did not start well for Southern Districts, with two losses in their first four games (South West and Ipswich). Another loss to the Phoenix in round nine had the Spartans clinging to a top four position. It was their last loss of the season, with the team recording nine straight wins to surge into the playoffs as the hottest team in the league.

Star Aja Parham returns again in a coup for the squad – she looks as dominant and fit as ever.

3 | Rockhampton Cyclones

With a top eight finish in 2018, they will be focused on building further with an aim to secure hosting rights for the 2019 finals.

Rockhampton have signed Shyla Heal to provide cover for the first two games while waiting for the arrival of the squad’s stars Alice Kunek, Abby Bishop and Jacinta Vanderberg. Expect a flashy style of play.

4 | Logan Thunder

After losing Kate Gaze and Miela Goodchild at the start of 2018, they had to regroup to find that X-factor, along with the 30 points you lose from not having those two on the court.

They won just two games from their first nine (Gold Coast and Rockhampton). Their season ended with a four-game winning streak but it was not enough throughout a season where a dominant and classy pack from years prior looked messy, confused and at various periods disjointed as a group.

This season is the new chapter. Mikhaela Cann is the lone piece returning and she will continue to lead the Logan Women around the court as their chief playmaker. The additions of WNBL experienced Ash Taia and Mik Ruef, who will add that injection of dominance and aggression matched with the ability to complete plays and string some wins together.

Points of Curiosity

  • After a great season with Adelaide Lightning, Nicole Seekamp will not line up in the QBL, exploring opportunities in the us
  • The Phoenix has lost its two boom importsof 2018; there will be no Abby Bishop (Rockhampton) and Natalie Hurst this season
  • Casey Samuels has re-signed with North Gold Coast
  • Marianna Tolo has signed with Mackay on a short-term contract

Men

Top Four Predictions

1 | Rockhampton Rockets

After limping into the playoffs from eighth, the Rockets were dismantled by the first seeded Mackay Meteors in a North Queensland derby. This season will be far from a limping effort for the Rockets and they will look to take the league by force.

Jimmy Mitchell returns for his third season in the blue and is joined by former league MVP Shaun Bruce, new recruit Jamaal Robateau and the athletic Nelson Kahler. A top of the ladder finish is expected for a roster that is shaping up nicely.

2 | Brisbane Capitals

Into the back half of the 2018 season, the Capitals signed Illawarra Hawks forward Tim Coenraad who proved a huge catalyst for a change in performance in their season. While Coenraad does not return in 2019, they still have a handy roster assembled, including  Jason Cadee and Will Magnay, as well as retaining star Aaron Anderson.

3 | Cairns Marlins

The giant killers of 2018 will look to show they can once again take it all the way and bring a title back to the Northern Queensland city.

Alex Loughton’s signing boosts their already potent pack. With experience and court time in the NBL, Christian Jurlina and Fabijan Kryslovic will show what makes this Marlins squad fight like junkyard dogs. Anthony Fisher will be as vital as ever as he once again leads his pack in his fourth season with the Marlins.

4 | Logan Thunder

After a 2018 season, which saw them crash into the finals in dominant fashion, the Thunder men will be looking to retain that identity across the court. Luke Cann took out Coach of the Year honours and although they have lost a key piece in Obi Kyei the pack is very similar to last season. With additions in Bryan Coleman, the returning Ryan Jefferies, Tendaki Mondacha and the younger Young brother (Zac), expect much of the same this season as they tilt for a maiden title.

Points of Curiosity

  • Coach changes across the league: Toowoomba, Mackay, Spartans, Capitals, Pirates & Phoenix all have new generals in charge
  • Mackay lose their 2018 star and QBL MVP Todd Blanchfield. Chris Cedar will captain and star, but they also lose Larkins and Cam Tragardh – which will only make the task tougher this season
  • The Townsville Heat have lost Townsville native Harry Froling and ex-Croc Jordair Jett. Josh Wilcher will combine with Coach Rodney Anderson, but the task will be rough and they will need to find troops to fill those massive roles vacated.
  • Isaih Tueta re-signs with USC Rip City after a strong 2018 season, which saw him take 15.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 7.8 assists a game, which earned him QBL All League Team, honours
  • The Toowoomba Mountaineers have failed to retain their two stars of 2018 in Harold Ridgeway (Gladstone) and Damon Bozeman (Frankston) along with their coach, Hall of Famer Danny Morseau. This is as huge reason why they will be struggling to fend off the wooden spoon.

You can watch a number of games each week via a live stream. Check availability here.

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