Joseph Johnson will line up for the Toowoomba Mountaineers. Photo: File
Joseph Johnson will line up for the Toowoomba Mountaineers. Photo: File

Neers season coming to the four

BASKETBALL: The Toowoomba Mountaineers are locked and loaded to return to the court next month.

Final details on the Queensland State League (QSL – formerly SBL) were confirmed by Basketball Queensland this week, with Toowoomba set to field four teams across various divisions.

The Mountaineers will enter teams in both the men’s and women’s division one competitions, as well as two sides in the men’s division two.

Teams from last year’s QBL (now NBL1 North) will fill out the 12 division one slots, with the exception of Cairns, Gladstone, Mackay, Rockhampton and Townsville, who will be replaced by Northside and Red City.

A total of 14 teams will make up the men’s second division, with Toowoomba joined by Moreton Bay, Sunshine Coast and South West Metro in fielding two teams. Brisbane, Gold Coast, Logan, Red City, Rip City and Southern Districts will also compete.

In both divisions, teams will play each other once before the finals.

NBL1 North coaches Martyn Ford and Karina Agius will take charge of the division one men and women respectively, with Matt Cox assisting Ford.

The division two sides will be led by Darryl Allen and Ash Peters.

Cox has been looking over the men of late, and said there was plenty of incentive for locals to find their footing in the new-look competition.

“It’s great for us to have a structure now, and after everything that has gone on, we’re finally going to get a competition and the chance to achieve something this year,” Cox said.

“It’s a great chance for the Mountaineers to use this as a building block for next year’s NBL1 North.

“In past years imports have played a large role in the QBL season. Now locals will have to take on that load and it will be a good opportunity for them to prove themselves at that standard.”

Both the men and women will incorporate players that would have taken to the court in the NBL1 North this year, and Cox believes that other associations will follow suit, making for a heightened level of play.

“There’ll be a lot of similar teams in terms of local guys across the region,” he said.

“Everyone has missed basketball through this, so it will be a chance for them to get out and play.

“There are limits on restrictions, where teams can essentially have one NBL player, so maybe we’ll see a few of those Bullets players filter their way across the league, particularly with the NBL to start in December.”

With four teams to take the court, spirits are high in Toowoomba about the future of the association.

“It’s a credit to our junior pathways,” Cox said.

“There’s now a realisation of our club that we are on the NBL1 door and have the chance of knocking down some semi professional teams.

“It’s a legitimate chance to prove yourself as a player.”

The Toowoomba Basketball Association will take over the running of the program for the remainder of 2020 to assist the Mountaineers board.