Mackay Machines Wheelchair Basketballer Kristy Bugeja.
Mackay Machines Wheelchair Basketballer Kristy Bugeja. Tony Martin

Machines move into state final

WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL: The Mackay Machines will look to reach another level after winning the Northern Challenge wheelchair basketball finals.

Mackay players Nathan Bowditch and Damon Jaenke were named in the All Star Five after the Machines' gutsy and determined extratime win over Frenchville Rockwheelers at the Mackay Multi-Sports Stadium.

The win puts Mackay into the state final against the winner of the Southern Challenge at a date and time to be determined.

"We've played a few games at that level," said Bowditch, who has been part of the Machines for six years.

Bowditch took up wheelchair basketball after breaking his back in a tractor accident in 2006.

He hasn't looked back since he took up the sport.

"My wife used to work at the IGA in Sarina and a mate of mine came in to the store and said I should give it a go," he said.

"Ever since then I've enjoyed it.

"I'm one of the lucky ones in that I can still walk around.

"I played a little bit of basketball when I was at school, but after that I never thought about it until I broke my back."

Jaenke is a long-term member of the Machines, and has made a comeback this year after 18 months out with injuries.

Rockhampton's Rod McPherson and Jason Holohan, and Ben Griggs from Cairns, are other members of the All Star Five.

Coach Peter Simpter said the Machines' gritty final win came after an earlier loss to the Rockwheelers.

"They really dug in and defence won the game for them," he said.


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