Jared Blanchard will be a key player for the Rockhampton Rockets in their grand final showdown with Mackay on Saturday night. Photo: Jann Houley
Jared Blanchard will be a key player for the Rockhampton Rockets in their grand final showdown with Mackay on Saturday night. Photo: Jann Houley

What Rockets must do to win CQ Cup grand final

THE Rockhampton Rockets are heading into the ConocoPhillips CQ Cup grand final with a “nothing to lose” mentality, according to coach Neal Tweedy.

The Rockets will take on the unbeaten Mackay Meteors in the men’s decider at McDonald’s Mackay Stadium at 8.30pm on Saturday.

The Rockhampton Cyclones will contest the women’s final, also against Mackay in Mackay, at 6pm.

The two Rockhampton teams advanced courtesy of semi-final wins over Gladstone Port City Power last weekend.

READ: Cyclones shut down Power in semi-final thriller

Tweedy said the Rockets would go in as underdogs but believed they could turn around the 21-point loss to Mackay in the last game of the regular season two weeks ago.

“It’s a big occasion. There’s obviously going to be a lot more pressures in a finals game,” he said.

The Rockhampton Rockets beat Gladstone Port City Power by 28 points last week to advance to Saturday night’s grand final. Photo: Jann Houley
The Rockhampton Rockets beat Gladstone Port City Power by 28 points last week to advance to Saturday night’s grand final. Photo: Jann Houley

“We’re going in confident but know we are going to be challenged by a very good Mackay team.

“It’s a great opportunity for our younger players to play in a final, even though it’s not NBL1.

“Mackay’s got all the pressure. They’d be heavy favourites.

“They’ve got a more experienced team; they’re playing in front of their home crowd and they’re playing on their home court that they’re used to playing and training on every day.

“They’ve got everything in their advantage, but our guys are going to go in with the mentality of nothing to lose.”

Tweedy said there were several key areas where the Rockets would have to improve since their last meeting with Mackay.

“We struggled to contain the three-point shooting, they made 14 threes when we were up there,” he said.

Hayden Richardson has been one of the Rockhampton Rockets most consistent scorers this season. Photo: Jann Houley
Hayden Richardson has been one of the Rockhampton Rockets most consistent scorers this season. Photo: Jann Houley

“We didn’t shoot it well, I think we made five, so there’s potentially a difference of 27 points there.

“That’s something that we’re going to have to contain defensively.

“Rebounding was another thing they dominated us with so we will have to make some adjustments to make sure we’re not getting destroyed on the boards.”

Tweedy said the Rockets would need to work hard to shut down Mackay’s three big guns – Bradley Rasmussen, Mitchell Gamblin and Lukass Blicavs.

He said that every Rockets player would need to feature on the scoresheet.

“We no doubt have our three main scorers in Leon Christensen, Hayden Richardson and Jared Blanchard but we’ve got to get scoring from a number of guys if we think we’re going to win,” he said.

“I don’t think we can go in and win with three scorers - we’ve got to get contributions from everyone, including our bench.”


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