HEAT HELLBENT ON REDEMPTION
THE pain of last season’s premature finals exit still burns through Townsville Heat coach Rodney Anderson.
Riding into last year’s quarter- finals as minor premiers, the Heat were expected to sweep aside the Cairns Marlins in the first stage of their run to championship glory.
But their finals campaign lasted just 40 minutes as Cairns claimed an upset in front of the Heat’s fans, and Anderson says the pain remains as fresh as it did 12 months ago.
“I still remember the feeling after the game ... I haven’t forgotten about that night whatsoever,” he said.
“I’m sure a couple of guys who played for us last year haven’t forgotten that either, guys like Peter Crawford. “It’s definitely driven me all year.” Tonight the Heat finally get their chance to make amends when they host the South West Metro Pirates in their QBL quarter- final at Townsville Basketball Stadium.
The Heat will have the same roster as the one that secured just one win from last weekend’s gruelling threegame road trip, although Anderson believes his team is geared up for finals.
“It was always going to be really tough to go on the road and get three games,” he said.
“It was disappointing how we lost our second game, we didn’t really turn up mentally but we never gave up the whole way through.
“We then could of just laid down and taken the loss on the Sunday but we fought that game as well, so we still think we’re doing the right thing and I still think we’re playing the right way.
“A couple of small adjustments and we should be OK.”
The Heat scored a 98- 79 home win against the Pirates in Round 2, but Anderson takes no comfort from it.
The Pirates have since become one of the league’s form sides, winning six of their past seven games, and imports Tanner McGrew – last year’s MVP – and Jeremy Kendle are different beasts to what they were early in the season.
“They might run the same style of offence, but they were just totally different guys,” Anderson said.
“Tanner McGrew had only just come off the plane and Jeremy Kendle didn’t play for them, and those two guys have been MVP of the league in the last couple of years.
“And they have been quietly rising up the ladder, so they’re going to be really tough to beat.
“But last weekend they finally played a team ( Brisbane Spartans) that was in the top part of the draw and they took a loss, so they’ve had an easy ride and hopefully they’re not as battletested as we are.”
Tonight’s tip- off is 7.30pm.
STRENGTH: Townsville Heat players Peter Crawford and Justin Baker have their game faces on ahead of tonight’s quarterfinal clash with the South West Metro Pirates.