MUSCLE MAN: Power's William Shackleford will again need to be big on the boards.
MUSCLE MAN: Power's William Shackleford will again need to be big on the boards. Paul Braven GLA140517BBALL


BASKETBALL: It will be bitter rivalry at its most fiercest when two of the biggest arch enemies McDonalds Gladstone Port City Power and Rockhampton Rockets face off tomorrow from 8pm at Kev Broome Stadium.

The Power are coming off a tough, but successful triple-header road trip in which it won two of its games against bottom-placed Toowoomba Mountaineers and Ipswich Force (11th).

Rockets are are eighth, a win behind Logan Thunder which beat Port City Power in the last of the triple block of games last Sunday.

The Rocky side beat USC Rip 105-96 last weekend with Christopher Fowler and Rashad Hassan combining for 64 points.

Power coach Blair Smith said the pair of wins has put his team right back in finals calculations.

"If we win the next four out of five games, then we are right back in it,” he said.

But first comes the task of taking on a side that is desperate to stay in the eight.

"We lost narrowly to them the first time,” Smith said of the 88-72 defeat back in round two.

Back then, the Power were undersized without the services of big men Nathaniel Musters and Patrick Ciganovic.

Since then, however, the Rockets picked up US import Chris Fowler who has scored over 100 points which coincided with three wins in a row.

"James Mitchell is the heart of their team and when the ball's in his hands, he generally makes things happen and that's not always by scoring points,” Smith said.

The Power coach was not sure with the match-ups and he admitted some players are still recovering from last weekend's tough road trip.

"We are a bit banged up and Patty (Ciganovic) copped a cork on his hip, but we will just monitor how people are,” Smith said.

The form of the Power's two latest recruits Musters and Ciganovic was pleasing according to Smith who noted that the pair are getting accustomed to the team's systems at both ends of the court.

"Nate (Musters) was really big for us against Ipswich and he provided a real presence for us with him and William Shackleford playing a really good high-low game for us,” he said.

"Patty played well in all of the games and the last game against Logan Thunder he started to knock them down which was good for his confidence.

"The great thing out of the weekend is that both have found their feet and know what their roles are.”