As if the state of Queensland had not already copped enough, there is a cyclone on the way. Wide-spread flooding in the Sunshine State has been widely publicised, causing immense damage. With Queenslanders in the midst of recovery efforts from those floods, there are now reports of Cyclone Yasi making its way across the Pacific, with residents in Cairns in particular warned to prepare for the worst.

The category five cyclone (as big as it gets) has meant that the National Basketball League has been forced to make the sensible decision of postponing Friday night’s game between the Perth Wildcats and Cairns Taipans, originally scheduled to be played at the Cairns Convention Centre. The match will now be moved to 7:30pm Saturday 26 March, at the same venue.

The NBL provided the following statements:

Basketball Australia Chief Executive Officer Larry Sengstock said the move was the only option available given concerns about the safety of players, coaches, officials and fans.

“Whilst we never like to have to shift previously advertised games, the upgrade of cyclone Yasi to category five overnight made the decision an easy one for us,” said Sengstock.  “After speaking to both the Taipans and Wildcats, we decided to move the game to Round 24 when fortunately both teams had a scheduled bye.

“The safety of all concerned with our games must be paramount and we are not prepared to put anyone in harm’s way for a game of basketball,” said Sengstock.  “Our thoughts are with the Cairns Taipans, Townsville Crocodiles and the residents of Queensland as they prepare to face Yasi.”

Skytrans Cairns Taipans General Manager Mark Beecroft echoed Sengstock’s sentiments.

“Our priority is the safety of our team and the Wildcats (who have a scheduled game against the Blaze Sunday),” said Beecroft.  “With a cyclone of Yasi’s power and destruction intensifying over night, it could potentially be a disaster waiting to happen,” Beecroft said. “The safety of everyone involved had to be taken into consideration, allowing for (the) most possible time prior to making the decision to postpone this game.”

Head coach of the Taipans Aaron Fearne agreed with the decision but was disappointed to have to delay the clash between his third-ranked Taipans and the second-seeded Wildcats.

“The guys were very disappointed after Sunday’s loss to the New Zealand Breakers ,” said Fearne.

“We have discussed that game, and were locked into preparations for the Wildcats, another huge game in the context of our series with them.

“Unfortunately, living in the tropics of North Queensland, cyclones are definitely part of the lifestyle here and the safety of ourselves, the Perth Wildcats and the local Taipans fans, all had to be considered in the rescheduling of this game.”

“It’s a pity, because we had a great training session yesterday, they really got after each other, and I could see the guys were definitely ready to play.”

The Taipans have advised all existing Pre-Paid, Season and Corporate Members to retain their existing tickets for use them at the re-scheduled game on March 26.

[image: Theo Fakos]