KEY PLAYER: Illiwa Baldwin will be asked to increase his court time for the Power over the coming games.
KEY PLAYER: Illiwa Baldwin will be asked to increase his court time for the Power over the coming games. Jake Jones

Gladstone's QBL teams on top, powering up for trip north

GLADSTONE Power takes a combined record of 11-1 on the road this weekend with the women and men topping their respective ladders.

With tough opponents in Cairns and Townsville on Saturday and Sunday, both teams are aiming to return with victories that will set up a great run to the finals.

The road trip is made tougher by all of the travel, with the teams first driving to Brisbane before flying north to compete.

"Anytime you have to travel so far it is tough, but we have improved the last couple of weeks," women's captain Jess Bibby said.

The matches are further made important as both are pool matches, which have the ability to determine finals schedules.

"You obviously have to take care of pool games, for us hosting a final is the goal," Bibby said.

While the female Power side is eyeing off another shot at a title, the men's team is improving rapidly and faces a huge opportunity to cement a finals bid.

Currently on a five games winning streak and with import Braydon Hobbs dominating immediately from his inclusion, coming home from the northern double-header winless is not an option.

"Nothing less than one win, winless is no good," coach Dale Iwanicki said.

"We are not looking ahead, but this weekend was earmarked early in the season, two tough pool games that are winnable," Iwanicki said.

Struggling for bodies to take the court and cover the tall positions, Iwanicki's side will rely heavily on Illiwa Baldwin, while Blair Smith and Justin Baker may share time depending on injuries.

"Illy will probably get promoted to starter; hopefully he goes out and plays the same in that role," Iwanicki said.

Each of the competitions has four of the five northern pool teams sitting in the top seven spots, with Townsville the only team not in the top half.

While being a hard pool to be placed in, the sides see a positive in the schedule.

"We are here to play competitive games and that is the good thing about the northern pool," Bibby said.

The road trip will complete the first half of the season, and the Power return to home court against Northside on June 15 - that match supporting the McGrath Foundation.