by Shane Jones
BUNDABERG Basketball is back, alive and ready to play.
That's the message the association wants to send out today when their sides return to action for the first time since its Queensland Basketball League teams were eliminated from the competition last year.
The Bulls and the Bears will compete in the Flood Fight Day as the association celebrates the start of the new year.
An annual tradition, this year will be different with the Bulls and Bears to face SBL sides the Sunshine Coast Rip before the Rip's QBL side faces the Gladstone Port City Power.
Bulls coach Mick Catlin said it was an important day for Bundaberg despite there being no QBL sides in the region.
"Today is to show the public that we're still playing basketball,” he said.
"This is the first step to show that we are still here and still have ambition to come back.”
Catlin said the side has been training for a while.
"Our development squad have kept on training since the QBL side was lost last year,” he said.
"I asked them if they want to keep on training and they do so it is a credit to them.”
The focus for the development side has been on players' mental states.
"We've been working on skills and becoming more mentally stable around the court,” he said.
"They have also been staying fit.”
While the players have stayed fit in readiness for a QBL comeback, the association is also working hard behind the scenes.
The association is now weighing up whether to apply when nomination close for QBL sides next year in October.
"We're looking at the process of working out the extent of the cost to get back into the QBL,” Catlin said.
"We need to show we are financially committed and have the money to play before the QBL comes back.”
The Flood Fight Day will start at 1pm with an Old Raiders and Old Bulls team playing in a game dedicated to Jared Hossack, who died in February.
The Bears will play the Rip at 2.30pm before the Bulls' game 4.30pm.