Game Preview: Cairns v Perth
CQUniversity Cairns Taipans @ Perth Wildcats
Thursday 16 November – RAC Arena (8:30pm AEST)
Watch: Live on ESPN via Kayo Sports
Follow: @cairnstaipans on all socials
The CQUniversity Cairns Taipans will head out west to face the Perth Wildcats tonight, with their full roster available for the first time. It’s already been a big week for the club, taking a road trip to Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre for their Indigenous community outreach on Monday, before travelling to Perth via Melbourne on Tuesday to start their Round 8 double-header. For the first time this season, the entire team has travelled with Pat Miller (back) and Bobi Klintman (hip) both returning to the active roster.
They join Tahjere McCall who also only recently returned to the line-up, with just two NBL games under his belt for his 2023-24 campaign. McCall hurt his hip during the pre-season and then remained America after the NBLxNBA visit.
Taipans Head Coach Adam Forde admitted it was a relief for the team to finally be a full strength, after missing a number of players throughout the first eight rounds of competition, including Taran Armstrong (foot) who remains on a minute restriction.
“This is about us getting a bit of consistency with our rotation, and particular line-ups on the floor. It’ll be trial by fire going over there [in Perth] because it’s always a tough venue to play in. But, what a great time to roll into a full venue with a full line-up and see what we’re made of?”
The Taipans got to exact revenge off on the Hawks on Saturday night, however it came after a double road loss the previous week, where they lost by 20 points in New Zealand and were outrebounded 52-38 against South East.
“Our focus is still rebounding. Taking care of the ball. We’re making strides in that direction, but we still need to be better. The effort is there, the intent is there – we just need to finish out with the result,” said Forde.
The Taipans take on the Wildcats, who have had their own struggles this season. However after losing four games straight, they have steered their ship around and are currently on a three-game winning streak for a 5-5 win-loss record.
The Taipans are on the same winning percentage, with a 4-4 record but now face the challenge of reintroducing players in the mix.
“It’s a matter now of trying to log some reps and minutes with the guys playing alongside each other – we haven’t had that luxury yet. There more they get to do that, the more confident they’ll grow. While we’re really good now – we’re not a final product yet. How we look in two, three or four week’s time is really what we’re trying to build towards.”