TONIGHT when CQUniversity Cairns Taipans Head Coach Aaron Fearne steps onto the floor of the Convention Centre, he will become just the second person in franchise history to notch 250 games with the Far North Queensland club.
Fearne marks the milestone by having played 38 NBL games for the Taipans (13 in 2000 and 25 in 2001) before going on to coach 211 games over the past eight seasons.
Since becoming the head coach in 2009, “Fearney” has led the team to two Grand Finals appearances (2011, 2015) and in 2015 became the first in Taipans history to earn the Lindsay Gaze Trophy for NBL Coach of the Year.
The Taipans all-time longest-serving coach joins foundation player Aaron Grabau at the top of the club’s leaderboard of total games played/coached:
405 – Aaron Grabau
249 – Aaron Fearne
223 – Anthony Stewart
183 – Gary Boodnikoff
173 – Alex Loughton
155 – Guy Molloy
Not one to shy away from a challenge, Fearne’s milestone 250th tonight will be up against one of the best rosters he has ever come up against, with the Kings recently adding NBA veteran Steve Blake into a mix that already boasts Josh Powell.
“In my time here, I don’t know if I’ve gone up against a team that has had two bona fide NBA players on the roster along with a reigning MVP in Kevin Lisch,” said Fearne.
“Then there is Aleks Marić’s experience as a EuroLeague player, Brad Newley’s international experience, NBA D-League’s Greg Whittington on top of Jason Cadee’s form right now. They’re super talented. I can’t remember a team as talented as that so it’s a big challenge – definitely looking forward to it.”
Fearne can take some confidence heading into the anticipated clash with the ladder leaders, as of this point the Taipans have won their last home game against every opponent in the NBL – the first time in franchise history that has ever happened.
The Snakes have also won their last four games against the Sydney Kings played in FNQ, and are hot off two big wins – posting a total of 181 points last round at 50 and 41 per cent respectively, as they continually sharpen up their systems on the floor.
“This year, we’ve averaged about 10 turnovers a game, which has been the best in the League the last two years in a row. It comes down to discipline, making the correct reads and then you will take care of the ball,” said Fearne.
“We’ve done an O-K job of that the last couple of games… Initially we were turning it over because we didn’t know how to run our stuff the right way. Since we’ve got better there things should naturally continue to improve.”
Tickets are available ONLINE and from the CCC from 5:00pm.
Grab a copy of the paper at tonight’s game ?
— Cairns Taipans (@CairnsTaipans) November 5, 2016
Don’t forget to grab a copy of the Cairns Post tonight, and hold onto your ticket stubs for a Zarraffas coffee upgrade, and if the Taipans win – free McDonalds cheeseburgers!