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Guide to the 2017 QBL Men’s season
The 2017 QBL men’s season promises to be one of the best seasons of basketball in Queensland in a long time. The return of the Brisbane Bullets has infused the competition with NBL talent across the board, with the addition of imports and players returning from college, the depth of talent has reached levels never before seen in the QBL.
Additionally, Basketball Queensland has introduced a revised finals format that now has the top 8 teams, regardless of pool positioning, progressing to the postseason. This means that every single game will have a direct affect on each side's chances. Needless to say...this is going to be one exciting season in Queensland basketball!
Season Tip Off
Friday, 28 April 6.30pm | Townsville Heat @ Cairns Marlins | Live Stats
How about a huge rivalry to start the season; a rematch of the 2016 semifinals. The Townsville Heat finished top of the table at the end of the regular season last year but were knocked out of the finals by eventual champions Cairns Marlins, so this game has a bit of extra juice in it! We couldn’t ask for a better game to start the season.
Last season’s runners-up will be looking to go one step further in 2017 and bring the QBL championship back to Auchenflower for the first time since 2002.
We understand the Capitals will return a majority of the core group from 2016, and therefore they could be expected to follow up with another grand final appearance. Although we haven’t been able to confirm the Brisbane roster, we understand that import Aaron Anderson is back, along with veterans Dusty Rychart and Zac Carter. Young guns Jacob Davis and Anthony Kopcikas are also expected to have increased roles in 2017.
Rumors are circulating that the Spartans will feature a couple of Brisbane Bullets in Adam Gibson and Tom Jervis. However the only player we know for sure that will be suiting up for the Spartans is former Brisbane Capitals captain Ryan Jeffries.
If all three suit up, that appears to be a formidable trio on paper, but we’ll have to see what the rest of the playing group looks like to be able to fully assess Brisbane's playoff potential.
The reigning QBL champions will once again feature NBL talent, with Cairns Taipans teammates Jarrad Weeks, Stephen Weigh and 2016 QBL Grand Final MVP Damon Heuir lining up for the Marlins. Alex Loughton has also been confirmed to return as an injury replacement until Weigh is able to recover from injury.
Anthony Fisher returns as well, along with Aaron Bin Tahal and Aaron Farmer, while Taipans development player Tevin Jackson and young guard Kody Stattman will feature off the bench. Head Coach Jamie Pearlman is one of the best coaches in the league so you know he will have his charges prepared to make a run at a repeat.
Gladstone Port City Power
The Power will again be lead by under the radar star Ray Willis. Willis is a do-it-all point forward who can take over any game he suits up for. Gladstone though is more than a one man show.
Gladstone has gone out and added double-double machine Will Shackleford from Bundaberg which will help tremendously on the glass. The Power also added sharp-shooter Josh Walters to the roster, but the Power will need some of their young guns to step up if they want to play finals ball.
Gold Coast Rollers
We don’t know much about the Rollers outside of the fact that they will feature the 2016-17 NBL Best Defensive Player award winner, Brisbane Bullets forward Torrey Craig. Craig is a massive addition for the Gold Coast and the QBL competition as a whole. Can he take the Rollers to the finals? We’ll have to wait see, but one thing we do know - the Gold Coast will be a must watch every week to see what Torrey can deliver.
The Force return a majority of their high powered offense in imports James Legan and Kyle Harvey, as well as local talent Jason Ralph, Jaryd Eustace, Ben Wilson and James Kuon.
Head Coach Mick Conlon has added depth to the squad by signing Josh Derkson, Luke Shelley and Atem Bior. Conlon will be looking for improvement on the defensive end this season, and if the Force can make those improvements, they are likely to surprise many.
While we do not yet have a complete picture of the entire Thunder roster, we’re confident enough to say that Logan will again be championship contenders in 2017 thanks to the firepower we know is returning. Brisbane Bullets big man Mitch Young will be back, joining former Townsville Croc Michael Cedar, versatile wing Tommy Ammar, and point guard Sean Carroll - not to mention head coach Derek Rucker.
Rucker will have to round out his starting five and build his bench, but he’s got the foundation in place to make another run at the QBL championship.
Mackay has made a huge off season splash by announcing the arrival of Cam Tragardh as player/coach. Tragardh is coming off a hugely successful 2016 QBL season as a major piece of the title winning Cairns Marlins squad. 'Trigger' proved he still has a lot left in the tank...can he do it again in 2017?
Tragardh won’t have to do it alone either, as Mackay returns one of the top back courts in the competition. Brisbane Bullets point guard Shaun Bruce and former Townsville Croc Chris Cedar are both back. Mackay also brings in Lucas Walker, most recently of NBL champions Perth Wildcats, as well as talented big men TJ Diop, Brad Rasmussen and Luke Harvey. Needless to say, Macktown is shaping up as a title contender!
This is a transitional season for the Rockets as they look to blood a young core group, many of which have little, if any, QBL experience. Rockhampton has brought in some experience and leadership to help guide them, signing former Marlins captain James Mitchell.
Rocky will look to add American imports at the point guard and power forward spots, so their season hinges on who they add at those positions and whether or not their young guys can handle the heat in the QBL.
South West Metro Pirates
The Pirates returned to the Finals in 2016 and are expecting to make go deeper into the postseason in 2017. Brisbane Bullets Assistant Coach Mick Downer takes over the coaching duties for South West, and he has a very deep and talented roster under his guidance.
Adelaide 36ers guard, and Pirates junior, Brendan Teys is back to lead the side. He’s joined by Brisbane Bullets development player Jarred Bairstow, 2016 QBL MVP Tanner McGrew, and point guard Ryan Vines. The bench features Jake Allen, Alex Boardman and exciting youngsters Verle Williams Jr, Tendakai Machado and big man Tyrell Harrison. If the Pirates can stay healthy, they have a great opportunity to make some noise in 2017.
Sunshine Coast Phoenix
First year head coach Brayden Heslehurst has completely revamped the Sunshine Coast roster for the 2017 QBL season. The Phoenix have brought in NBL talent in Brisbane Bullets youngsters Matt Kenyon and Tom Fullarton, and Sydney Kings big man Jeromie Hill. Veterans CJ Massingale, Brad Williamson and Hayden Reed will join American import Breland Hogan to provide plenty of high level basketball experience.
If the playing roster can gel together quickly under Heslehurst’s leadership, the Phoenix have the potential be one of the surprise squads of the 2017 QBL season.
Head coach Anthony Corcoran returns for his third year at the helm of the men’s QBL program, and this year he has brought in two imports to lead the way for his squad. Jalil Abdul-Bassit is an explosive 6’4 athlete who most recently spent time in the NBA D-League. The other import is Jay Washington, a true point guard from California, who Corcoran expects to be one of the top play makers in the league.
The local talent is plentiful too, as Cameron Weber, Jason Ebneter, Manylok Malek and Paul Aleer will have significant roles for the Mountaineers. Corcoran is confident in his side and will be looking to get back to the QBL Finals after missing out in 2016.
Townsville finished at the top of the table in 2016 but were eliminated in the semifinals at the hands of fierce rival Cairns. Coach Rodney Anderson returns quite a bit of talent, but has also brought in some new blood for the 2017 season in hopes of bringing the title back to the ‘Ville.
Former NBL star Peter Crawford is back along with point guard Josh Wilcher, Matt Rees and Keegan Tudehope. Former Logan Thunder big man Justine Baker makes the move up north in one import spot, while the second is filled by Jamell Anderson who has represented Great Britain internationally as well as winning multiple championships in the UK.
Make no mistake about it - Townsville will be one of the top teams in 2017.
University of Sunshine Coast Rip
2016 was the inaugural season for the USC Rip and they are hoping to build on that solid debut in 2017. Head coach Nathan Arousi is back along with former NBL guard Lance Hurdle, forward Rory Sutton and wing Louis Ilton.
Hurdle will partner Brisbane Bullets guard Isaih Tueta to form one of the top guard tandems in the QBL. Josh Tueta has also joined USC as have the Meehl brothers, Zane and Zeke. Rip City has the talent to get to the finals if they can all get on the same page.
QBL Live Streaming Schedule
All games are brought to you by Live Sport Australia foundation partner Nothing But Net Media, and will be streamed live on the Basketball Queensland YouTube channel.
Basketball Queensland have released the first 7 Rounds of live streaming coverage with the remainder of the schedule to be released at a later date. Finals coverage includes one game per round with every Grand Final game streamed live.
Round 1 | Saturday 29 April 8:00pm | Gold Coast Rollers @ Brisbane Capitals
Round 2 | Friday, 5 May 8:00pm | Toowoomba Mountaineers @ Logan Thunder
Round 3 | Saturday, 13 May 8:00pm | Cairns Marlins @ Brisbane Capitals
Round 4 | Friday, 19 May 8.30pm | Logan Thunder @ Ipswich Force
Round 5 | Sunday, 28 May 2:00pm | Mackay Meteors @ South West Metro Pirates
Round 6 | Saturday, 03 June 7.15pm | Gladstone Port City Power @ Brisbane Spartans
Round 7 | Saturday, 10 June 8:00pm | Sunshine Coast Clippers @ Brisbane Capitals