Cairns Taipans

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Cairns Taipans
Cairns Taipans logo
HistoryCairns Taipans
ArenaCairns Convention Centre
LocationCairns, Queensland
Team colorsOrange, navy, white
Main sponsorCQUniversity
CEOMark Beecroft
PresidentTroy Stone
Vice-president(s)Ross Moller
General managerMark Beecroft
Head coachMike Kelly
Team captainAlex Loughton
OwnershipTaipans Basketball Incorporated
Retired numbers1 (8)

The Cairns Taipans are an Australian professional basketball team based in Cairns, Queensland. The Taipans compete in the National Basketball League (NBL) and play their home games at the Cairns Convention Centre, known colloquially as "The Snakepit". The Taipans are the only not-for-profit club left in the league.[1]


Early years (1999–2008)[edit]

Taipans game at the Cairns Convention Centre in 2011

The Taipans were founded in 1999, entering the National Basketball League (NBL) in place of the outgoing Newcastle Falcons for the 1999/2000 season. Led by head coach Rod Popp, the Taipans made their debut with a dismal 2–26 season record.[2] The Taipans failed to qualify for the post-season in their first four seasons. In 2003/04, the Taipans played finals basketball for the first time. On 3 March 2004, the Taipans defeated the Perth Wildcats 103–96 in an elimination final at the Cairns Convention Centre. In winning their first final, the Taipans moved on to the quarter-finals,[3] where they were defeated 110–88 by the West Sydney Razorbacks.[4] After missing the finals in 2004/05, the Taipans made three straight finals appearances between 2005/06 and 2007/08.

Financial difficulties (2008–2009)[edit]

In December 2008, the Taipans were placed into voluntary administration. As a result, coach Alan Black was sacked and imports Larry Abney and Dave Thomas were let go. The rest of the team had to agree to a blanket 45 per cent pay cut for the rest of the season.[5][6][7] Less than 12 months later, the Taipans were again in financial trouble – at the time, the club was almost $350,000 over budget and had only recorded a profit in one of the previous four months.[8] In response, Basketball Australia and Cairns Regional Council vowed to continue supporting the cash-strapped Taipans.[9]

NBL Grand Finalists (2011; 2015)[edit]

The 2010/11 season saw the Cairns Taipans create history as they finished the regular season in third place with a 16–12 record and advanced through to the 2011 NBL Grand Final series, reaching the championship deciding round for the first time behind star trio Ron Dorsey, Ayinde Ubaka and Daniel Dillon.[10] There they faced the New Zealand Breakers, and after being thrashed in the series opener in Auckland, going down 85–67,[11][12] the Taipans responded in Game 2 at home. They notched up a nail-biting 85–81 double-overtime win against the Breakers to send the series into a decider. It marked the first time in NBL history a play-off match was decided in double overtime. Cairns had looked set for a three-point win in normal time before a three-pointer from Breakers guard C. J. Bruton in the dying seconds sent the match into overtime. However, revenge came five minutes later when Dorsey wiped out the Breakers' three-point lead with no time to spare to force the match into double overtime. With momentum on their side, the Taipans were able to finish out the match on top.[13][14] Dorsey's miraculous long three-pointer to send the game into double overtime has a special place in the club's history.[10] The Breakers went on to win the 2010/11 NBL Championship with a 71–53 win in the decisive Game 3 in Auckland. The Taipans lacked the same spark in Game 3, with import pair Ubaka and Dorsey shooting 4-of-26 between them.[15] Despite ultimately losing the series, Dorsey's heroics in Game 2 went down in Taipans folklore.[10]

During the 2011 off-season, the star trio of Dorsey, Ubaka and Dillon all left Cairns to play for the Melbourne Tigers, each departing the Taipans after just one season.[10] As a result, over the ensuing three seasons, the Taipans failed to return to the finals.

In February 2015, the Taipans clinched their first ever NBL minor premiership.[16] They finished the 2014/15 regular season in first place with a 21–7 record, marking the first time since the now defunct Geelong Supercats in 1984, that a regional team has topped the regular season log.[17] The Taipans also made history by using 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.[18] They went on to reach the 2015 NBL Grand Final series, where they once again faced the New Zealand Breakers. Despite having home court advantage, the Taipans were easily defeated by the Breakers in Game 1, losing 86–71. They went on to lose at the buzzer in Game 2 in Auckland after a game-winning fade-away shot by Ekene Ibekwe lifted the Breakers to an 83–81 win.[19]

Honour Roll[edit]

NBL Championships: 0
NBL Finals Appearances: 7 (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2015, 2017)
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)


Season Results Finals Coach Captain Club MVP
1999/00 11th (2–26) DNQ Rod Popp Terry Johnson N/A
2000/01 9th (6–22) DNQ Rod Popp Anthony Stewart Ben Knight/Aaron Trahair
2001/02 11th (9–21) DNQ Guy Molloy Anthony Stewart Jayson Wells
2002/03 8th (13–17) DNQ Guy Molloy Brad Davidson/Jayson Wells Ben Knight/Anthony Stewart
2003/04 6th (16–17) Quarter-Finalists Guy Molloy Brad Davidson Marcus Timmons
2004/05 10th (11–21) DNQ Guy Molloy Anthony Stewart Chris Burgess
2005/06 5th (18–14) Semi-Finalists Alan Black Anthony Stewart/Darnell Mee Martin Cattalini
2006/07 7th (17–16) Semi-Finalists Alan Black Anthony Stewart Martin Cattalini
2007/08 6th (16–14) Quarter-Finalists Alan Black Martin Cattalini Nathan Jawai
2008/09 9th (11–19) DNQ Alan Black/Mark Beecroft Martin Cattalini Martin Cattalini
2009/10 7th (11–17) DNQ 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) DNQ Aaron Fearne Alex Loughton/Ian Crosswhite Jamar Wilson
2012/13 6th (11–17) DNQ Aaron Fearne Alex Loughton Jamar Wilson
2013/14 5th (12–16) DNQ Aaron Fearne Cameron Tragardh Cameron Gliddon
2014/15 1st (21–7) Grand Finalists Aaron Fearne Cameron Gliddon Scottie Wilbekin
2015/16 6th (12–16) DNQ Aaron Fearne Cameron Gliddon Cameron Gliddon
2016/17 2nd (15–13) Semi-Finalists Aaron Fearne Cameron Gliddon Travis Trice
2017/18 6th (11–17) DNQ Aaron Fearne Cameron Gliddon Cameron Gliddon/Mitch McCarron
2018/19 TBD TBD Mike Kelly Alex Loughton TBD

Source: Taipans History

Current roster[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team eligibility at FIBA sanctioned events. Players may hold other non-FIBA nationality not displayed.

Cairns Taipans roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Nat. Name Ht. Wt.
G 1 United States Trimble, Melo (I) 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in) 88 kg (194 lb)
F 3 Australia Young, Mitchell 2.06 m (6 ft 9 in) 107 kg (236 lb)
G 5 United States Hall, Devon (I) 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in) 93 kg (205 lb)
G 6 New Zealand Kenny, Jarrod 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in) 87 kg (192 lb)
G 7 Australia Kuany, Kuany 2.01 m (6 ft 7 in) 91 kg (201 lb)
G 9 Australia Kernich-Drew, Dexter 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in) 83 kg (183 lb)
F 10 Australia Jurlina, Christian (DP) 1.96 m (6 ft 5 in)
F 12 Australia Walker, Lucas 2.02 m (6 ft 8 in) 102 kg (225 lb)
C 14 New Zealand Loe, Robert 2.11 m (6 ft 11 in) 111 kg (245 lb)
C 15 Australia Jawai, Nathan 2.09 m (6 ft 10 in) 140 kg (309 lb)
F 20 Australia Krslovic, Fabijan (DP) 2.03 m (6 ft 8 in)
G 25 United States Newbill, D. J. (I) 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in) 95 kg (209 lb)
F/C 40 Australia Loughton, Alex (C) 2.06 m (6 ft 9 in) 106 kg (234 lb)
Head coach
  • United States Mike Kelly
Assistant coach(es)

  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Development player
  • (IN) Inactive
  • (I) Import player
  • (TP) Training player
  • (NS) Next Star player
  • Injured Injured

Updated: 13 October 2018

Notable past players[edit]



  1. ^ Smith, Adam (11 October 2017). "Chargers eye $5m NBL budget". Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  2. ^ Chalmers, Steve (12 February 2015). "Year of the Taipan?". Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  3. ^ "Taipans end Wildcats' season". 4 March 2004. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  4. ^ "Pigs end Taipans' run". 7 March 2004. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  5. ^ Davis, Sam (11 December 2008). "Taipans to finish season but imports Abney and Thomas go". Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  6. ^ Davis, Sam (16 December 2008). "Taipans coach Alan Black sacked". Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  7. ^ "Cairns Taipans import Larry Abney has spoken out against dumped coach Alan Black". 19 December 2008. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  8. ^ Davis, Sam (26 November 2009). "Snakes running out of venom: The Cairns Taipans in financial trouble again". Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  9. ^ Davis, Sam (27 November 2009). "Basketball Australia and Cairns Regional Council vow to support cash-strapped Taipans". Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  10. ^ a b c d Wenzel, Murray (5 March 2015). ""Like it was yesterday," Taipan Ronald Dorsey remembers his NBL grand final heroics in Cairns". Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  11. ^ "New Zealand Breakers on NBL title brink". 20 April 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  12. ^ "Breakers prepare for torrid Taipans attack". 23 April 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  13. ^ Schwarten, Evan (24 April 2011). "Cairns Taipans force NBL Grand Final series decider in double overtime thriller". Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  14. ^ "Taipans halt Breakers in double overtime". 25 April 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  15. ^ "Breakers seal maiden NBL title". 29 April 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  16. ^ "Cairns Taipans claim NBL minor premiership with 81-77 win over New Zealand Breakers". 22 February 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  17. ^ "Cairns clinch NBL minor premiership". 22 February 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  18. ^ "R20 Report: Wilbekin leads Taipans to historic finish". 22 February 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2015.
  19. ^ "Taipans brave in quest for first NBL Championship". 12 March 2015. Archived from the original on 12 March 2015.

External links[edit]