Hungry Jack's NBL
R14 Preview: Cairns v Townsville
Who: Cairns Taipans v Townsville Crocodiles When: 7.30pm (AEDT), Friday 8 January Where: Cairns Convention Centre Watch: Fox Sports; Sky Sports NZ; NBL Live App Last time they met: Townsville 90 (Jett 26, Kay 16, Steindl 13) d Cairns 74 (Craig 18, Worthington 14, Starks 11), Round 9, Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre
Young brings up double figures with two handed elevation #HardBall @TsvCrocs @PerthWildcats https://t.co/lntohZwXLX — NBL (@NBL) December 19, 2015THE STORY Things couldn’t have gone much better for the Crocs in the last Reptile Rumble, blowing Cairns out of The Swamp with a 31-9 opening term before cruising to victory. In contrast, things couldn’t have gone much worse on New Year’s Eve, smashed by the Hawks in a 14-32 first quarter and never getting back into the game. The Crocs have suffered five defeats by 15 points or more this season, but in contrast four of their seven wins have come against ladder leaders Melbourne and Perth. Even during games their fortunes have swung wildly, five times recovering from a double-figure deficit to taste victory. When asked how he could account for such huge discrepancies between his team’s best and worst, Townsville coach Shawn Dennis was typically honest. “I don’t know, I wish I knew,” he said. The Crocs coaching staff have meticulously studied what their team needs to do to be successful. “We have these charts we call Four Second Evaluations, because in four seconds you can get the answer you’re trying to find,” he said. “It stands out so substantially that when we achieve the goals of those charts we win, and when we achieve 60 per cent of them we win.” The good news for Crocs fans is their team has improved, winning three of their past six games with only one blowout loss. The concerning factor for Dennis is after two steps forward there always seems to be a step back. “I said to them, ‘This should be hammering home now fellas’,” he said. “Maybe we get a little complacent with some of that stuff or we lose focus, but it’s about getting the guys to know that they're all good teams these days and if you make errors you pay for it.” The bad news for Townsville is they must head north to Cairns this Friday, where they have won just once in their past 13 visits, often struggling to match the Snakes’ execution.
Little man taking it to the big man! #HardBall @TsvCrocs @illawarrahawks https://t.co/ibRPh6kioT — NBL (@NBL) December 31, 2015The Crocs are susceptible to speed, and with Shaun Bruce in career-best form and Markel Starks back from injury, expect Cairns to push the ball and look for Mark Worthington outworking his bigger opponents in transition. Townsville’s bigs were embarrassed last week - collecting more turnovers than offensive rebounds - but they dominated the Taipans in Round 9, meaning Worthington, Cam Tragardh, Matt Burston and Alex Loughton will likely be on a mission inside tonight.