SIX days after one NBL star debuted for the Cockburn Cougars, the Rockingham Flames will be unveiling Illawarra Hawks captain Kevin White this Friday night as they attempt to stop a losing slide against the Willetton Tigers.
The quality of the SBL continues to be on show with the calibre of players wanting to join the league and that saw former Townsville and Cairns, and current Perth Wildcats shooting guard Clint Steindl lining up for the Cougars last weekend.
While a fractured wrist means his season is over just as it was starting, the fact he wanted to play shows the quality of the SBL and that’s only heightened by Kevin White now joining the Rockingham Flames as a replacement for injured import Josh Ritchart.
That means that the Flames have a team featuring an NBL captain and vice-captain from last season as White joins triple Wildcats championship winner Greg Hire in the line-up.
That sees White join not only Hire currently playing in the SBL but also current or former NBL players Gavin Field, Drew Williamson, Earnest Ross, Jarrad Prue, Louis Timms, Damian Matacz, Ben Purser, Lochlan Cummings, Shawn Redhage, Jackson Hussey, Michael Vigor, Joel Wagner, Cody Ellis, Corban Wroe, Kyle Armour and Damien Scott.
First up for White and his Flames is the Willetton Tigers on Friday night at Mike Barnett Sports Complex with Rockingham looking to snap a five-game losing slide.
Also on Friday night in Men’s SBL, the Perry Lakes Hawks play the Joondalup Wolves at Bendat Basketball Centre and the Stirling Senators take on the Perth Redbacks at Warwick Stadium.
There are then seven matches on Saturday night with all 14 teams in action starting with the Geraldton Buccaneers hosting the South West Slammers and the Goldfields Giants facing the Kalamunda Eastern Suns.
The Perth Redbacks also face the Perry Lakes Hawks with the Joondalup Wolves hosting the Mandurah Magic, the East Perth Eagles taking on the Rockingham Flames, the Cockburn Cougars battling the Lakeside Lightning and the Willetton Tigers playing the Stirling Senators.
Friday night gets underway at Mike Barnett Sports Complex with Kevin White’s first appearance for Rockingham up against Willetton.
With the broken foot suffered by import Josh Ritchart, the Flames had to come up with something big and there’s not much better than signing a current NBL captain.
White is now a veteran of 185 games in the NBL between both the Sydney Kings and Illawarra Hawks, and this past season was captain of the Hawks and continues to be one of the most respected warriors in the competition.
To now have that calibre of player in the SBL is a great thing especially to think he’s on the same team as 209-game Wildcats veteran Greg Hire.
They will be in action in an important game for the Flames too who come into the round with a 6-7 record in eighth position having now lost their past five matches after opening the season with a 6-2 record.
That makes the stakes high as they take on the Tigers on Friday with Willetton still sitting in fifth position with a 7-5 record despite two losses last weekend against the Joondalup Wolves and Cockburn Cougars.
Also on Friday night, the Hawks host the Wolves at Bendat Basketball Centre with Perry Lakes entering the clash in sixth position at 6-6 up against the league-leading Wolfpack who are 12-1.
The Hawks have now lost their past three matches to the Cougars, Slammers and Buccaneers following a three-game winning streak leading into that.
They now have a big test against Joondalup on Friday night with the Wolves having now won seven straight by an average of 21 points since their only loss of the season in Geraldton against the Buccs.
The Senators then also play host to the defending champion Redbacks at Warwick Stadium on Friday night.
Stirling comes into the game in fourth position at 8-5 with Perth in third at 10-3 making it yet another mouth-watering match up.
The Senators started the season so well winning their first four games before then losing five of their next seven and then again steadying more recently winning their last couple against the Eagles and Slammers, including by 53 points on Sunday over South West at home.
They are back home on Friday night hosting the defending champion Redbacks who will have Lee Roberts and Michael Vigor in their line-up for the second week of the season as they look to improve on winning 10 of their opening 13 matches of 2018.
If it’s a big Friday night in the Men’s SBL, then it’s a monstrous Saturday evening with the seven matches with all 14 teams in the competition involved.
That begins at Active West Stadium with the Buccaneers looking to continue their strong form against the struggling Slammers.
The Buccs come into the round in second position with a 10-2 record having now won four straight since a shock home loss to the Mandurah Magic.
They will pose a significant test for a Slammers team who had been building some better momentum after a slow start before losing by 53 points last Sunday at Warwick Stadium. They come into the clash with the Buccs at 3-9 in second last position.
The other regional Saturday night battle pits the bottom placed Giants up against an Eastern Suns team trying to enhance their playoff credentials at Kalgoorlie’s Niels Hansen Basketball Centre.
The Giants remain anchored to the bottom of the table at 2-10 after a double-header loss to the Wolves and Lightning last weekend by a combined 84 points following a nail-biting one-point home win over the Magic.
They will look to make life difficult for a significantly improved Kalamunda team on Saturday night with the Eastern Suns out to bounce back from a controversial one-point loss last Saturday night at the hands of Mandurah.
Then also on Saturday night, the Redbacks are back to Belmont Oasis to host Perry Lakes. Perth will be coming off playing Stirling on the road on Friday with Perry Lakes having played host to Joondalup.
Joondalup then hits its home floor where it tries to remain undefeated since moving to the new facility up against Mandurah at HBF Arena.
The Wolves are undefeated so far at HBF Arena come into Saturday’s clash having already played on the road to Perry Lakes on Friday. It will be Mandurah’s only appearance of the weekend with the Magic entering the round in 12th position at 3-9.
East Perth is another team looking to get a bounce back win to stay in the playoff race with the Eagles hosting the Flames at Morley Sport and Recreation Centre.
The Eagles will be playing their only match of the round and come into it in 10th position with a 5-9 record while the Flames will have already played host to Willetton on Friday night.
The Cougars and Lightning are two teams also out to build some momentum to book in a playoff position when they lock horns on Saturday night at Wally Hagan Stadium.
Cockburn had an impressive Round 10 double-header beating East Perth away and Willetton at home, but that was with Clint Steindl in the line-up.
He won’t be there now due to a fractured wrist but the Cougars will attempt to improve on their 6-7 record against what is now an impressive Lightning line-up who are 6-7 in seventh spot.
With the arrival of Daniel Alexander and Bryan Michaels, and return of Corey Shervill, it’s a deep and supremely talented Lightning line-up that coach Dave Daniels now has at his disposal.
Then the last match of the round should be another cracker between two top four hopefuls with the Tigers hosting the Senators at Willetton Basketball Stadium.
Willetton will be coming off playing in Rockingham on Friday night while Stirling will have played host to the Redbacks.
MEN’S SBL FIXTURES – WEEK 11
Perry Lakes Hawks v Joondalup Wolves – Bendat Basketball Centre 8.30pm
Rockingham Flames v Willetton Tigers – Mike Barnett Sports Complex 8.30pm
Stirling Senators v Perth Redbacks – Warwick Stadium 8.30pm
Geraldton Buccaneers v South West Slammers – Active West Stadium 7.30pm
Goldfields Giants v Kalamunda Eastern Suns – Niels Hansen Basketball Stadium 7.30pm
Perth Redbacks v Perry Lakes Hawks – Belmont Oasis 8.00pm
Joondalup Wolves v Mandurah Magic – HBF Arena 8.00pm
East Perth Eagles v Rockingham Flames – Morley Sport and Recreation Centre 8.00pm
Cockburn Cougars v Lakeside Lightning – Wally Hagan Stadium 8.00pm
Willetton Tigers v Stirling Senators – Willetton Basketball Stadium 8.00pm