Bulls on final mission
BUNDABERG Radiology Bulls have lost the services of one of their United States stars of the past few seasons, Matt Hanson, but their committee is determined the team will reach the 2012 Queensland League finals.
The Bulls promised much this year but they failed to deliver in the QBL men's division, finishing ninth with nine wins and nine losses.
But their QBL committee member Scott Mackey said they were working hard under chairperson Andrew Bainbridge and the squad was coming together well under coach Danny Page, who has been re-appointed after taking the reins from Adam Curran who resigned late last season.
Their other American star Will Shackleford was the first player they re-signed but Mackey said Hanson would not return after he recently married.
"Matt has got to that stage of life where he's married and his wife has got a teaching job back in the States - he was fantastic for us and we wish him all the best but he won't be back," Mackey said.
"But John Wieland has re-signed. The last few games of the season, he got good points with his athleticism.
"And Shane Davis is in the second year of his contract while Kyle Kiernan hasn't signed yet but that should be a formality.
"We're waiting on four contracts to come back and we want it sorted out by the middle of January.
"We are working on two six foot 10 (208cm) forwards for the centre spot, good big men to take the pressure off Shack(leford) who were good college talents and we are speaking with point guards.
"But we're not just looking for players to turn up and run on the court - we're committed this year to two schools every week after the demand we had to "So You Think You Can Play Challenge".
"They play a game against a Bulls and Bears mixed team and I go down and announce the game and the kids love that type of stuff.
"With the guys we are talking with, we are looking at a stronger roster and certainly our goal for the men is to make the play-offs.
"But the competition is shaping as its toughest ever.
"Shane Heal, one of Australia's best former players, will coach Ipswich and with the new culture there, they've been going through the roof with all the young guns who want to play for them. That's what we're against."
But Mackey said with their women's team the Bears, achieving their best result this year and aiming to go one better after being beaten grand finalists, it was exciting times for the club.
"There's a lot of interest and we've fielded a lot more inquiries than ever before.
"The last four games this year were sell-outs and we could sell out every game next season from the opener with the music and atmosphere
"We also have strong support in the juniors.
"There has been a big increase in rep players' abilities - we won the under-12 Classics for the first time in ages and under-16's won Division 2 at state, on the back of a lot of training, and we've secured a lot of sponsors."