Rep­tile rec­on­cil­i­a­tion proves short- lived

Townsville Bulletin - - NBL - by Andrew Aloia andrew. aloia@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

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

I

would

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.

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