The Townsville Heat will open their championship defence against Mackay in a grand final replay
The Townsville Heat will open their championship defence against Mackay in a grand final replay

QBL 2018: Team by team season preview

News Regional casts an eye over the men's teams heading into the 2018 season.



COACH: Geoff Tarrant.

CAPTAIN: Yet to be named.

INS: Ben Wilson (Ipswich), Nelson Kahler (Logan Thunder), Brandon Davis (US).

OUTS: Dusty Rychart (injured), Princeton Onwas (Sout h West Metro Pirates).

MAIN MEN: Aaron Anderson is one of the most exciting point guards in the competition when he is up and running - and led the competition for steals in 2017 - but is likely to miss the early rounds after suffering a lower leg injury in the pre-season. Big man Nelson Kahler is poised to make an impact after crossing from Logan.

LAST WORD: The Capitals have dominated the regular season over the last two campaigns but, having failed to fire in the finals, they will be hoping to turn that around in 2018. Australian hoops stalwart Dusty Rychart, who will not play this year (ACL tear), will be missed, however.




LAST SEASON: 9th, (8W 9L).

COACH: Ben Thompson.

CAPTAIN: Adam Gibson.

INS: Will Magnay (Brisbane Bullets), Dashawn King (Kansas City Kanga- roos), Jaryd Eustace (Ipswich).

OUTS: Tom Jervis (NBL), William McDowell-White (Germany).

MAIN MEN: Dashawn King is an athletic American who will swing through the shooting guard and small forward positions in his first year out of college. He is a renowned defender. Will Magnay was contracted as a development player with the Bullets for the 2017-18 NBL season where he showed glimpses of his talent.

LAST WORD: The Spar tans didn't set the world on fire in their first season back in the QBL in 2017 but look to have settled with a strong roster for their second campaign. They lose Jervis, but recruits Magnay and Eustace show promise and the leadership of Gibson can not be understated.



Jamie O’Loughlin will coach the Marlins for the 2018 QBL season. Picture: BRENDAN RADKE.
Jamie O’Loughlin will coach the Marlins for the 2018 QBL season. Picture: BRENDAN RADKE.


LAST SEASON: 3rd, (11W 6L).

COACH: Jamie O'Loughlin.

CAPTAIN: Anthony Fisher.

INS: Fabijan Krslovic (Montana Uni), Christian Jurlina (Sydney Kings), Michael Nwelue (Sou thern Tigers), Marshall Ware.

OUTS: Damon Heuir (NZ), Jarrad Weeks (NZ), St ephen Weigh (retired), Tevin Jackson (Albury-Wodonga), Aaron Bin Tahal (injured), Alex Loughton (Perth Redbacks).

MAIN MEN: Fabijan Krslovic is an exciting big man. He will not land in the Far North until round four but will come with a strong college resume. Sh arp-shooter Christian Jurlina arrives in Cairns with big wraps from the Sy dney Kings hierarchy - and keen to grab a Taipans berth.

LAST WORD: It's a new-look Cairns Marlins. Championship- winning coach Jamie Pearlman is gone, along with much of the experienced NBL talent. But new coach Jamie O'Loughlin will be counting on his recruits to lead the way.




LAST SEASON: 13th, (4W 13L).

COACH: Christopher Riches.

CAPTAIN: Jason Ralph.

INS: Garrett Hall (US ), Joseph Owens (Townsville), Joshua Sp iers (Townsville), Jarrett Hepehi-Karini (South West), Kresto Wal (Northside).

OUT: James Legan (Adelaide), Jaryd Eustace (Southern Districts), Ben Wilson (Brisbane), Joshua Derksen (Toowoomba), Luke Sh elley (Logan), Robert Manson (retired).

MAIN MEN: Home-town product Jason Ralph brings a fresh outlook to the Force as the newly-appointed captain and starting point guard. Power forward Joseph Owens is looking to make a name for himself and push up to the next level after signing from Townsville.

LAST WORD: For the new-look Force, 2018 is all about redemption, based around a few new additions and a focus on providing opportunities for the growing local talent that can be a part of the next generation.




LAST SEASON: 7th (9W 8L).

COACH: Luke Cann.

CAPTAIN: Michael Cedar.

INS: Rayshawn Simmons (US) , Obi Kyei (Germany), Luke Shelle y (Ipswich), Simon Taylor.

OUTS: Sam Johns (SA), Keanau Post (Lebanon), Bijan Johnson (Adelaide), Christian Sala cech (Gold Coast).

MAIN MEN: In exciting athletic forward Obi Kyie, the Thunder believe they have found the missing piece of their championship puzzle. Mitch Young, the one-time Cairns Taipans and Brisbane Bullets forward, is back after winning a place in the league's all-star five line-up last year.

LAST WORD: The Thunder deserves to have championship aspirations with Young and Michael Cedar setting the standards, and now backed by imports Simmons and Kyei. Coach Cann takes charge after leading the women for the past couple of seasons.


Titus Robinson will join the Mackay Meteors for its 2018 season
Titus Robinson will join the Mackay Meteors for its 2018 season Contributed


LAST SEASON: 2nd, (14W 3L).

COACH: Cameron Tragardh.

CAPTAIN: Chris Cedar.

INS: Nelson Larkins (Adelaide 36ers), Todd Blanchfield (Sydney Kings), Titus Robinson (Import), Brendan Shepard (returning), Shaun Baker (Qld U18).

OUTS: TJ Diop (Gold Coast), Lucas Walker (NZ), Shaun Bruce (NZ), Matt Gange (retired).

MAIN MEN: Chris Cedar, the captain and club defensive player of the year, returns after dropping 50 points in a grand final match last year. Titus Robinson is a 203cm spark plug. His 216cm wingspan and athletic ability will make him a handful at both ends of the court.

LAST WORD: Mackay are looking to go one better this season after suffering the loss of their point guard and league MVP Shaun Bruce for the grand final series. The team is much-improved defensively with Blanchfield, Larkins and Robinson all defensive specialists.




LAST SEASON: 6th, (11W 6L). COACH: Mick Downer. CAPTAIN: Ryan Vines.

INS: Princeton Onwas (Brisbane Capitals), James Ringholt (Texas Uni), Marty Leahy (Western Kentucky Uni).

OUTS: Tanner McGrew (France), Jeremy Kendle (Bendigo Braves), Daniel Kickert (NBL), Brendan Teys (NBL).

MAIN MEN: Exciting guard Verle Williams Jr has spent a year training with the Brisbane Bullets and is ready to make an impact. James Ringholt, the Brisbane boy and University of Texas San Antonio graduate, will not join the team until the middle of next month but shapes as a real find.

LAST WORD: Despite the loss of former QBL MVP Tanner McGrew, who has opted to remain in Europe, Pirates coach and Brisbane Bullets assistant Mick Downer will have his side firing, having landed Onwas, and college kids Ringholt and Leahy.




LAST SEASON: 11th (5W 12L).

COACH: Brayden Heslehurst.

CAPTAIN: Not announced yet.

INS: Roy Booker (SE ABL), Delvon Johnson (Illawarra Hawks), Jamaal Robateau (US College), Josh Walters (Gladstone), Nathan Wilson (SE ABL).

OUTS: Matt Kenyon (knee), Jeromie Hill (France), Breland Hogan (US ), Hayden Reed (retired).

MAIN MEN: With some game time at the Brisbane Bullets, Tom Fullarton is expected to bring much-im- proved fitness and court experience. Delvon Johnson is another experienced head among a young group of players. Will add plenty of NBL talent to the roster.

LAST WORD: The Phoenix took a while to hit their straps last year and so will be aiming to go out hard from the start this season. With returning talents Fullarton, CJ Massingale and Matt Donaldson mixing it with a diverse range of new- comers, the Phoenix pack plenty of punch.



EYE ON THE PRIZE: Toowoomba Mountaineers guard Damon Bozeman sizes up Remy Lawyer of the North Gold Coast Seahawks.
EYE ON THE PRIZE: Toowoomba Mountaineers guard Damon Bozeman sizes up Remy Lawyer of the North Gold Coast Seahawks. Sean Teuma


LAST SEASON: 14th (1W 16L).

COACH: Danny Morseu.

CAPTAIN: Damon Bozeman.

INS: Harold Ridgeway (Chicago), Damon Bozeman (US), Charlie Gibb (Darwin), Josh Derksen (Ipswich Force), Tito Kwajakwan (Melbourne).

OUTS: Jay Washington (US), Jalil Abdul-Bassit (US), Paul Aleer (SC Phoenix).

MAIN MEN: Damon Bozeman played in China with NBL champions Melbourne United during the pre- season, a sign he is on the radar of elite systems. The dy- namic guard has the ability to create his own shot, as well as being able to play through contact in the paint. Harold Ridgeway is a mobile power forward who can get to the basket on a whim, and loves to excite the fans.

LAST WORD: They have recruited well and have added NBL hall of famer Danny Morseu as head coach. It might be a season too early for them to mount a finals charge but they are on the right path.




LAST SEASON: 12th (5W 12L).

COACH: Brady Walmsley.

CAPTAIN: Troy Robinson.

INS: Casey Walker (McKinnon), Taylor Young (Warner Pacific College), Matt Hancock (Geraldton), Jordan Lumkon (Maitland), Brodie Riach (Altona), Cirkook Riak (Werribee).

OUTS: Remy Lawyer (NGC Seahawks), Willie Sha ckleford (Darwin), Dylan Owen (Highland Community College), Ray Willis (Rockhampton)

MAIN MEN: Matt Hancock  started with a bang with 8-13 triples in a practice game against Rockets. The former NBL development player is the perfect replacement for Ray Willis. Taylor Young will add speed, power and size to the roster.

FINAL WORD: Hasn't new coach Brady Walmsley gone to work, adding speed, height and toughness. But will it be enough to match it against the likes of Capitals, Meteors, Heat and Marlins?




LAST SEASON: 4th (SBL) (10W 4L).

COACH: Ricardo Lawyer.

CAPTAINS: Adam Tyrus and Remy Lawyer.

INS: Jerron Jamerson (Darwin), Quinton Campbell (US), Remy Law- yer (Gladstone), Cameron Goldfinch (Logan), Tim Habelito (Philippines), Jemoein Manns (Port Macquarie).

OUTS: Not available.

MAIN MEN: Remy Lawyer is a talented point guard. Was in the club's under-18s team and played US college ball before a two-year stint at Gladstone. Jerron Jamerson, an import from Indiana, spent a season in Darwin before relocating and will be a key block in the club's drive.

LAST WORD: The Seahawks lack the financial clout of rivals and possess a smaller roster than many. First season in the QBL after stepping up from the state league, expectations are they will be unlikely to keep pace with Coast neighbours the Rollers.



Newly re-signed Townsville Heat point guard Josh Wilcher. Picture: Wesley Monts
Newly re-signed Townsville Heat point guard Josh Wilcher. Picture: Wesley Monts


LAST SEASON: 1st (12W 5L).

CAPTAIN: Keegan Tudehope.

COACH: Rodney Anderson.

INS: Jordair Jett (Townsville Crocs), Harry Froling (Marquette Uni/Ade- laide 36ers), Jackson Todd (return- ing), Josh Myles (returning), Max Norton.

OUTS: Jamell Anderson (Spain ), Josh Spier s (Ipswich), Jordan Baleikatuba (moved to Brisbane).

MAIN MEN: Jordair Jett is a one-time NBL import with the Crocs on the comeback trail. The 26-year- old hopes his QBL stint will revitalise his professional career. Harry Froling is a Townsville junior who has already signed with Adelaide for next NBL season and if he plays to his ability, he should be a focal point of the Heat's offence.

LAST WORD: The reigning champions are clear favourites to go back-to-back. Froling and Jett are both quality addi- tions and point guard Josh Wilcher is one of the best two way guards in the competition.




LAST SEASON: 10th (6W 11L)

COACH: Mick Conlon.

CAPTAIN: Dwayne Vale.

INS: Akeem Marsh, Deon Mitchell, Matt Adekponya, TJ Diop, Brent Wallace.

OUTS: Scot t McGregor (retired), Adam Darragh (retired), Torrey Craig (NBA), Devon Sulliv an (overseas).

MAIN MEN: Dion Mitchell is a quality point guard who has won championships in Europe and brings a touch of class to a side. Matt Adekponya was targeted by a few QBL teams given his strong playing resume which included a stint in America. Is a high-calibre player regarded as NBL talent should he get fit enough.

LAST WORD: Finals, finals and finals. Nothing but the top four will do for a rebuilding franchise who boast their most competitive and deep roster in years. Experienced coach Mick Conlon has publicly declared his intention for a title within the next two seasons.



LAST SEASON: 4th (8W 9L).

COACH: Neal Tweedy.

CAPTAIN: James Mitchell.

INS: Malcolm Bernard (Xavier Uni), Ray Willis (Gladstone).

OUTS: Dave Wagner (Canada), Rashad Hussain (Albury-Wodonga), Chris Fowler (Germany)

MAIN MEN: James Mitchell returns after playing in the English Professional League so will be in great condition to lead the Rockets again after his great season last year. Ray Willis is QBL's leading scorer last year and will be out to have a successful season in a new program.

LAST WORD: Although the Rockets have struggled in the pre-season, it always takes time to build team chemistry and they are expecting to be playing their best come round one. They will be keen to reproduce the late-season form of 2017 which earned them a place in the top eight and ultimately fell just one win short of a grand final appearance.



LAST SEASON: 5th (11W 6L).

COACH: Nathan Arousi.

CAPTAIN: Isaih Tueta.

INS: Eric McAlister (US ), Tom Cordwell (U18 US C Rip City).

OUTS: Josh Walters (SC Phoenix).

MAIN MEN: As captain Isaih Tueta  will be aiming to lead by example. He has NBL experience and has the ability to turn the tide in battles on court. Eric McAlister is the club's star import for the season and is expected to boost strength and height on court. The 200cm forward boasts plenty of QBL knowledge having played for Phoenix in the past.

LAST WORD: USC Rip City bowed out of the quarter-finals against Cairns last year and have high hopes of progressing further this season. In particular, coach Nathan Arousi has fixed the team's sights on securing a home final. 


LADBROKES TITLE ODDS: Meteors $3, Heat $3.50, Capitals $8, Pirates $8, Marlins $10, Rollers $10, Phoenix $13, Rockets $16, Rip City $16, Force $31, Spartans $31, Thunder $41, Seahawks $61, Power $81, Mountaineers $81

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