Heavyweight clash headlines epic Samsung QSNL country round

Defending country champions Capricorn Claws will aim to begin the road back to the top of the table when they take on Whitsunday Sharks in the second weekend of Samsung QSNL country action tomorrow.

The Sharks opened their season with a hard-fought win over a strong Marlin Coast Marlins outfit, while the Claws lost their opener against Magnetic North Steelcats before bouncing back the following day against Wide Bay Thundercats.

Claws vice-captain Courtney Wheeler said her side had taken a hard lesson from their opening performance of the season.

“I think after coming out on top of the country competition last year, we came in a little complacent on opening weekend,” Wheeler said.

“The Steelcats really came out hard from that first whistle. We learnt a lot from that loss and really picked it up the next day against the Thundercats.

“That game was an opportunity to see what we need to work on. We need to focus on consistency and we’ve really put that into our training sessions since. We’re working on our intensity – the last few sessions have been really focused and we’re ready for the next round.

“The Sharks have always been a physical team. They should also have Shar Bunting back – a key player for them. We’ll be aware of their physicality and the accuracy of their shooting. We just need to go out there and focus on our jobs.”

The Sharks have arguably the toughest draw of the country sides this weekend, taking on the 2-0 Steelcats on day one before backing up against the reigning champions on day two.

Sharks coach Margie Sugars said her side had taken a lot of confidence from their opening performance against the Marlins, where they trailed for most of the match before coming home late.

“We’ve been working hard on our transitions since the opening game – making sure we consistently flow down court for the whole four quarters,” Sugars said.

“We’re determined to get out there and have a crack. We have great belief in ourselves and a never say die attitude. We are building nicely – if we can start as we finish, we’ll be on fire.

“Shar Bunting is back this week and she’s dominant down the court. She’s hard to start and is a big asset. Whether she’s ready to play a full game we won’t know until closer to centre pass, but to have her back will be great for us. Her presence has a calming influence on the girls and she leads by example.”

Round 3, 25 March 2017, Bundaberg Multi-Purpose Complex, Bundaberg

5pm: Steelcats v Sharks
7pm: Thundercats v Marlins
Claws BYE

Round 4, 26 March 2017, Bundaberg Multi-Purpose Complex, Bundaberg

10am: Steelcats v Thundercats
10am: Claws v Sharks
Marlins BYE