Mackay Meteors claimed the 2021 NBL1 North title. (Photo: @NBL1 - Twitter)

With the NBL1 North Men’s competition kicking off this weekend, The Inner Sanctum takes a look at five teams to watch out for in this year's competition.

With the NBL1 North Men’s competition kicking off this weekend, The Inner Sanctum takes a look at five teams to watch this year.

Mackay Meteors

The North-Queensland side claimed the inaugural NBL1 North title last season and will be looking to build on that success into this season. Emmanuel Malou was unstoppable for the Meteors and played a major role in winning his team the title.

The 28-year-old was Mackay’s 2021 MVP and was also named in the NBL1 North All-Star Five and will look to cause further havoc off the back of his season with the Adelaide 36ers. The Meteors made Mackay Basketball Stadium a fortress last season and will be a road game that teams will not be looking forward to in 2022.

Alongside Malou, the Meteors have stacked their roster with talent, welcoming Jaylin and Kyrin Galloway to the team for the upcoming campaign. The season may only be starting this weekend, but Mackay is already the team to beat.

USC Rip City

The Sunshine Coast team fell in the semi-final of last year’s competition and will be looking to improve this season and make the Grand Final series. USC can beat any side in the competition on its day and challenged Mackay for the majority of the semi-final.

Rip City led the eventual champions at each break but was unable to handle the hot-handed Chris Cedar and Emmanuel Malou in the final quarter. At their peak, Rip City was unstoppable as Isaih Tueta, Tanner Krebs and Eric McAlister formed a lethal partnership on the floor.

USC will be without two of its two star players from last season as Krebs departed for the Gold Coast Rollers, while Kyle Zunic also left during the offseason. However, Rip City have recruited strongly to fill the void with Cairns Taipans’ Kouat Noi joining the side along with Verle Williams.

Rip City has a strong mix of experience and youth that will be aiming to make this year’s Grand Final.

Gold Coast Rollers

Gold Coast finished the home and away season in fourth place last season and was unable to win its home quarter-final. However, it has added some depth to its strong roster.

This season the Rollers’ will have three Brisbane Bullets players with Jason Cadee, Lamar Patterson and Tanner Krebs all on the roster. Krebs was named in the All-Star Five for the NBL1 North last season while playing for USC and will be a major addition to the side.

Patterson and Cadee have showcased their ability at NBL level for the Bullets and will look to cause havoc for defences in the NBL1 this season.

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Logan Thunder

Logan was near unstoppable in the regular season last year as it ended its campaign on the top of the ladder with just the one loss in 13 games. However, the Thunder was unable to continue that form into the playoffs as they lost to the Marlins at home in a blowout semi-final.

Logan will be boosted by the re-signing of 2021 NBL1 North MVP Jeremy Kendle. Kendle boasts NBL experience with the New Zealand Breakers, Brisbane Bullets, Adelaide 36ers and Sydney Kings.

Logan’s captain, Michael Cedar will be a massive asset for the side in its quest for NBL1 glory. Cedar is one of the most experienced players in the competition and was pivotal for the Thunder last season.

The 35-year-old averaged just under 12.9 points on 44 per cent shooting, 2.5 assists and 5.8 rebounds per game last season and will look to build on those numbers in 2022.

Logan’s experience will also be supported by exciting youth with Boston Mazlin a prime example. Mazlin averaged 11.9 points per game last season and was named the Thunder Youth Program Player of the Year last season.

Darwin Salties

The competition’s newest side will be one to keep a close eye on this season. The Salties completed the signing of last year’s Grand Final MVP Jerron Jamerson in January which will be a major boost to the side.

Jamerson played a major role in helping Mackay claim last year’s title and will be looking to guide this new team to glory.

The Salties have built up a competitive side with Ben Wright, a young prospect to keep an eye on. The Northern Territory side has signed a number of Darwin locals and will be an exciting team to watch this season.

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