Taipans eyeing strong finish to NBL season

Coach Aaron Fearne wants his Taipans to build on their upset win over Perth and finish on a high.
Coach Aaron Fearne wants his Taipans to build on their upset win over Perth and finish on a high.

Cairns coach Aaron Fearne admits to almost allowing himself to wonder 'what if' after his side sprung an 85-83 upset win over Perth.

The Taipans, out of finals contention, had nothing to gain when they faced the Wildcats in a hostile environment in the west but, unfortunately for the defending champions, they had nothing to lose either.

Perth's task of finishing in the top two and gaining home-court advantage in the first week of the finals has been made extremely difficult.

Fearne said that the fact his side was out of the running can prove dangerous at this stage of the season.

"It's always an interesting time of the year, especially now with four teams that are in and four that are out," he said.

"They're playing for a lot; playing for spots and we're playing for pride.

"I guess that makes you dangerous.

"It's been a tough year; massive injury and import turnover, but I am proud of the guys; their resilience to continue to compete and really get after it."

Of the Taipans' 11 wins, seven have come against sides that will play finals while five of their 16 losses have been by just five points or less.

Fearne says the injury list could make it easy to wonder what might have been.

With a bit of luck and a few more wins against the sides below them on the table, the Taipans could be in the mix rather than playing for pride.

"You can, but Nate (Jawai) plays first game of the year, lasts 13 minutes and is injured, misses 13 games," he said. "(Michael) Carerra gets injured in the pre-season, by game two he's back, then he's out.

"You can say what if. We've competed in a lot of games and come up a bit short in a lot of them.

"But you want to finish off the best you can and it was a good start tonight."

Australian Associated Press