Taipans head coach Mike Kelly inspires his players during a time out in the National Basketball League (NBL) pre season match between the Cairns Taipans and the Brisbane Bullets, held at Early Settler Stadium, Manunda. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE.
Taipans head coach Mike Kelly inspires his players during a time out in the National Basketball League (NBL) pre season match between the Cairns Taipans and the Brisbane Bullets, held at Early Settler Stadium, Manunda. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE.

Sunshine Stoush gets more serious with every NBL season

IT does not get the national attention or enhancement that the Melbourne Throwdown does but former and current players believe the Sunshine Stoush is building into one of the strongest NBL rivalries.

The first ever 'Throwdown' between Melbourne United and South East Melbourne Phoenix opened the season last Thursday night while the Queensland derby between Cairns and the Bullets will start round two this Friday evening in Brisbane.

Mitch Young, Torrey Craig, Shaun Bruce, Travis Trice and Cameron Gliddon have been on both sides of the fledgling Queensland derby since the Bullets return to the competition three campaigns ago.

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Young, who retired in the off-season after stints with three different Queensland clubs, believes the rivalry is a little one-sided so far, with hoops fans in the south of the state still finding their feet back in the big time.

While in the north it is serious stuff.

"The way it started, with the Taipans resenting Brisbane with players moving down south, and some key imports in that especially," Young said.

"I think the rivalry is more from the Taipans end at the minute; Bullets fans are still learning about the rivalry and tradition.

"The feedback you hear on the Taipans end that is the players are just leaving for the big city and big money, which is the card that is played.

Taipans head coach Mike Kelly watches the National Basketball League (NBL) pre season match between the Cairns Taipans and the Brisbane Bullets, held at Early Settler Stadium, Manunda. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Taipans head coach Mike Kelly watches the National Basketball League (NBL) pre season match between the Cairns Taipans and the Brisbane Bullets, held at Early Settler Stadium, Manunda. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

"In saying that, there has been some really good games between the two teams over the last few years and I think there will be more to come.

"It is great to have a Queensland rivalry as we have seen so many in the past between Townsville, Gold Coast and the other clubs."

Emerging Bullets forward Will Magnay, who has been in the NBL for a few seasons now, can feel the hatred brewing.

"You always want to be the best in your state," Magnay said.

"It is the home opener for us, so as a club we are pumped up and excited for the occasion.

"Queenslanders love their sport; the battle of Queensland is always a good one."

Cairns will travel to Brisbane later this week for a clash with the Bullets on Friday night, the first of a four-game road trip, before completing round 2 against the Hawks on Monday evening.

News Corp Australia

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