Cairns Convention Centre
|Team colors||Orange, Navy, Tan and White
|General manager||Mark Beecroft|
|Head coach||Aaron Fearne|
|Team captain||Cameron Gliddon|
|Ownership||Taipans Basketball Incorporated|
The Cairns Taipans are an Australian men's professional basketball team competing in the National Basketball League (NBL). The club is based in the North Queensland city of Cairns. The Taipans, named after a species of venomous snake native to Australia, entered the NBL in the 1999–2000 season. The Taipans play their home games at the 5,300 seat Cairns Convention Centre (CCC), known as "The Snakepit" within the NBL, and play in orange and white colours.
The first coach in franchise history was former Cairns Marlins ABA coach Rod Popp. Playing at the newly expanded Cairns Convention Centre, the Taipans played their first game against the Sydney Kings in front of 4,407 fans. However, there would be few highlights in their first season, finishing last with a 2–26 record.
With a large turn-over of players in their second season, expectations for Cairns were low. Headed by Guy Molloy, a former South-East Melbourne Magic and Australian women's national team assistant coach, the Taipans would improve to 6–22, sell out five of fourteen home games and attract over 4,963 spectators per match.
Midway through the 2001/02 season, Taipans released import forward Matt Garrison replacing him with the exciting Jayson Wells, who made an immediate impact on the team averaging over 22 points and 10 rebounds per game including a season high 40 points against Canberra Cannons and 39 points against reigning NBL champions Wollongong Hawks. During the season the club registered their first ever wins against North Queensland rivals Townsville Crocodiles, Wollongong Hawks, Adelaide 36ers and Victoria Titans. The club also recorded their biggest winning margin in a match against Canberra and won the best of head to head battles against reigning title holders Wollongong and the Victoria Titans. The club again showed significant improvement to earn nine victories.
In 2002/03, the Taipans took another significant step forward by winning 13 games while finishing in eighth position, showing that the club should make the playoffs for the first time in the near future.
The 2003/04 season proved to be an exciting one for the Taipans, with the recruitment of experienced NBL championship-winning forwards Melvin Thomas and Marcus Timmons helping the Taipans to reach their first playoffs in franchise history. The Taipans first finals appearance resulted in a win, as the Taipans upset Perth Wildcats 103–96. Ultimately, the Taipans maiden post-season foray was stopped by the West Sydney Razorbacks who would go on to come within a single game of the title. Timmons earned his team’s MVP award for the season.
The 2004/05 season witnessed the first-ever reversal of the Taipan’s forward progress from the past five seasons, resulting in championship coach Alan Black being signed to replace Molloy. The addition of All-Star Martin Cattalini and Darnell Mee, as well as AIS up-and-comer Adam Gibson helped the Taipans to a fifth-place finish in 2005–06. Cairns defeated the Hunter Pirates in the first round, and Anthony Stewart hit a three late in overtime to help the Taipans past the Adelaide 36ers, and advance the Taipans to their first ever semi-final. The Taipans lost this to the defending champion Sydney Kings in two straight games, narrowly going down 84–82 in game two in Cairns.
The 2006/07 Taipans consolidated their form of the previous year with a 17–16 record and a sixth place finish. Many Taipans players enjoyed notable personal success. Martin Cattalini placed second in the NBL among scorers, behind New Zealand's Carlos Powell. Darnell Mee placed sixth in the league for assists, while new addition Kevin Owens was among the best rebounders and blockers in the league. The Taipans defeated the South Dragons 118–97 in the second quarter-final, and then beat the Perth Wildcats 82–78 in the fourth quarter-final to advance to the semi-final series against the Melbourne Tigers but were swept by the Tigers in 2.
Halfway through the 2008/09 season the Taipans were placed into voluntary administration. However a community based public ownership scheme was floated, and shares and syndicates were made available to purchase to the general public as a part of the team as a whole, in much the same way as the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League. These shares raised the necessary half a million dollars of operating capital required by the new NBL guidelines and made the Taipans the first publicly owned professional sporting franchise in Australia. This same scheme of public ownership was followed by the Wollongong Hawks, who also successfully attracted enough investment to be viable for the 2009/10 NBL season.
After two seasons near the bottom. Cairns finished in 3rd spot in 2010–11 and won their first ever semi final game by beating Townsville in Game 2 74–57 to even the series and force the series to the deciding game. At the Crocodiles' home, Cairns would eventually win the decider Game 3 with a 10-point win, allowing them to go into their first grand-final series where they faced the New Zealand Breakers. The Breakers won game 1 (85–67), before the Taipans fought a tough battle to win game 2 (85–81) in double overtime. With the series tied at 1–1, the grand-final went to game 3. The Breakers won 71–53, leaving the Taipans as runners-up for the 2010–11.
In 2014–15, the Taipans became just the second regional team in NBL history (joining the Geelong Cats of 1984) to win the minor premiership, finishing with a 21–7 W-L record. The Taipans also became the first team in NBL history to use the same starting five of Scottie Wilbekin (Point guard), Cameron Gliddon (Shooting guard), Stephen Weigh (Small forward), Alex Loughton (Power forward), and Matt Burston (Centre) all season. The made it to the Grand Final for just the second time in the history, but lost once again to the New Zealand Breakers, going down in Game 2 after a game-winning fade-away shot was made by Ekene Ibekwe.
|NBL Finals Appearances:||5 (2004, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2015)|
|NBL Grand Final appearances:||2 (2011, 2015)|
|All-NBL First Team:||Chris Burgess (2005), Scottie Wilbekin (2015)|
|NBL Rookie of the Year:||Nathan Jawai (2008), Cameron Gliddon (2013)|
|NBL Most Improved Player:||Gary Boodnikoff (2006)|
|NBL Coach of the Year:||Aaron Fearne (2015)|
|NBL Best Sixth Man:||Cameron Tragardh (2015)|
|1999/00||11th (2–26)||–||Rod Popp||Terry Johnson||N/A|
|2000/01||9th (6–22)||–||Guy Molloy||Anthony Stewart||Ben Knight/Aaron Trahair|
|2001/02||11th (9–21)||–||Guy Molloy||Anthony Stewart||Jayson Wells|
|2002/03||8th (13–17)||–||Guy Molloy||Brad Davidson/Jayson Wells||Ben Knight/Anthony Stewart|
|2003/04||6th (16–17)||Quarter-Finalists (1–1)||Guy Molloy||Brad Davidson||Marcus Timmons|
|2004/05||10th (11–21)||–||Guy Molloy||Anthony Stewart||Chris Burgess|
|2005/06||5th (18–14)||Semi-Finalists (2–2)||Alan Black||Anthony Stewart/Darnell Mee||Martin Cattalini|
|2006/07||7th (17–16)||Semi-Finalists (2–2)||Alan Black||Anthony Stewart||Martin Cattalini|
|2007/08||6th (16–14)||Quarter-Finalists||Alan Black||Martin Cattalini||Nathan Jawai|
|2008/09||9th (11–19)||–||Alan Black/Mark Beecroft||Martin Cattalini||Martin Cattalini|
|2009/10||7th (11–17)||–||Aaron Fearne||Phill Jones||Dusty Rychart|
|2010/11||3rd (16–12)||Grand Finalists||Aaron Fearne||Phill Jones/Alex Loughton/Ian Crosswhite||Ayinde Ubaka|
|2011/12||5th (15–13)||–||Aaron Fearne||Alex Loughton/Ian Crosswhite||Jamar Wilson|
|2012/13||6th (11–17)||–||Aaron Fearne||Alex Loughton||Jamar Wilson|
|2013/14||5th (12–16)||–||Aaron Fearne||Cameron Tragardh||Cameron Gliddon|
|2014/15||1st (21–7)||Grand Finalists||Aaron Fearne||Cameron Gliddon||Scottie Wilbekin|
Source: Club History
|Cairns Taipans roster|
|C||Alex Loughton||Matt Burston|
|PF||Mark Worthington||Cameron Tragardh|