Reptile reconciliation proves short- lived
IT’S a love-hate relationship. For one night, and one night only, the T o wns v i l l e Cr o c o d i l e s u n a s h - amedly cheered for bitter North Queensland foes Cairns.
Having come from behind to trample Melbourne on Saturday night, the Crocs could secure second place on the NBL ladder if the Taipans accounted for Perth.
And the snakes came up trumps for their neighbours, prevailing 90-87 in overtime.
‘‘ I didn’t think
ever barrack for the Taipans, but I was on Saturday night,’’ an overjoyed Crocs coach Trevor Gleeson said.
Townsville captain Russell Hinder went even further, openly expressing his gratitude for a side the Crocs will face in four days.
‘‘ I never thought I’d say thanks to Cairns for anything, but they came through for us,’’ Hinder said.
But true to the ‘‘ Reptile Rumble’’ rivalry, the skipper tempered his comments with an early jibe at his far northern opponents.
‘‘ Yeah, we were watching and keeping an eye on the score,’’ Hinder admitted. ‘‘ But whether we wrapped it up this weekend or wrapped it up next weekend, we were very confident of getting second spot.’’
And so, normal hostilities are set to resume this week in what will be the most decisive showdown between the clubs.
The Taipans on Saturday night did more than just help out the Crocs, they also assured themselves of a play-off berth.
A home triumph on Friday and they will finish third and set up a semi-final date with Townsville.
Asked if dropping their next meeting with Cairns and setting up what would be a dream three-game series against the Taipans was an option, Gleeson dismissed any such claim.
‘ ‘ If anyone doesn’t know the rivalry up here in the North, it doesn’t matter where we are on the ladder or what’s on the table, we are always going at it,’’ Gleeson said.
‘‘ I expect nothing more than that on Friday night.’’
If it’s a meeting with Cairns the Crocs faithful want, Gleeson hinted they might get their wish in the grand final, with the fourth-placed team to meet faltering minor premiers New Zealand in the first round of the finals.