Taipan lifts game with gym sessions

TAIPANS forward Cameron Tragardh has raised the bar on court this season, and he puts his impressive start to this season down mainly to a strong effort in the weights room.

Tragardh, who stands 209cm, put on 6kg during the pre-season, filling out to 112kg, and is averaging 14.3 points per game - including 10 in last weekend's 86-74 loss to the Melbourne Tigers.

The 30-year-old was one of the stars during the team's impressive pre-season, helping the Taipans finish second to Perth in the NBL Blitz.

"My fundamental skills have always been pretty solid, so I really focussed on building up my body, legs and hips," Tragardh said.

"I added six kilograms of muscle and it's given me a stronger base to work with. You can see it in my shooting, which is going at around 60 to 70%."

Part of the leadership group at the club with captain Alex Loughton and Jamar Wilson, Tragardh said the team needed to build on the 2-2 start to the season after missing the play-offs last season thanks to a 4-10 record at the half-way point.

"We agreed we needed to get off to a better start this time," he said. "At times we had a soft underbelly and we wanted none of that this year.

"We're a tight leadership group, but we had to show how committed we were too if we wanted everyone else to feel accountable for their actions."

That's not to say Tragardh is entirely happy with the improvement his team has shown.

"We really should have won our first three games. We let a win slip (against Adelaide after leading 66-55 at three-quarter-time)," he said.

There was little Tragardh and his teammates could do to stop the Tigers on Saturday night, with Chris Goulding drawing high praise from Melbourne coach Chris Anstey after scoring 34 points.

Anstey, who spent four seasons with Dallas and Chicago in the NBA, said Goulding's potential was limitless.

"How good is he? You know what, he's very good now, but I think he's special, he can be something this country hasn't seen before," Anstey said.

The Taipans will now have to rebound from those two home court losses when they travel to Sydney to take on the Kings tonight.

In other round five games, Adelaide is at home to Melbourne, Townsville hosts the Breakers and the Tigers back up on Sunday with a home match against Wollongong.

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