IT is back to a normal schedule in Round 4 of the Men’s SBL following Easter with action spread over three days beginning on Friday night with the champions of the past two seasons the Perth Redbacks and Cockburn Cougars locking horns.
Following the Easter Round of action where 12 of the 14 Men’s SBL teams played with the Geraldton Buccaneers and Goldfields Giants enjoying the bye, it’s now back to a normal round of fixturing.
Following three rounds of the 2018 Men’s SBL season, the Joondalup Wolves and Stirling Senators are the only two remaining undefeated teams and they just happen to meet at Warwick Stadium on Saturday night.
Meanwhile, the two teams yet to taste victory this season so far are the South West Slammers and Goldfields Giants.
The Friday night fixtures sees the Perth Redbacks play the Cockburn Cougars at Belmont Oasis and the Lakeside Lightning face the Kalamunda Eastern Suns at Lakeside Recreation Centre.
Then on Saturday night, the Goldfields Giants play the East Perth Eagles at Niels Hansen Basketball Centre, the Perry Lakes Hawks host the Rockingham Flames at Bendat Basketball Centre, the Stirling Senators take on the Joondalup Wolves at Warwick Stadium and the Willetton Tigers face the Geraldton Buccaneers at Willetton Basketball Stadium.
Finally on Sunday, the Mandurah Magic host the Willetton Tigers at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre, the Kalamunda Eastern Suns face the Geraldton Buccaneers at Ray Owen Sports Centre and the Joondalup Wolves battle the South West Slammers at HBF Arena.
LIGHTNING KEEN TO KEEP PUSHING THE PACE
REDBACKS FOCUSED ON GOING TO ANOTHER LEVEL IN 2018
CLARKE BUCKLES IN FOR ROLLERCOASTER RIDE AT EASTERN SUNS
CULTURE CHANGE, BACKING IN LOCALS KEY FOR FLAMES
THURSDAY NIGHT MEN’S SBL RECAP – WEEK 3
Round 4 of the Men’s SBL begins on Friday night with the contest featuring the champions of the past two seasons, the Redbacks and Cougars at Belmont Oasis.
Perth has begun its championship defence firstly with wins against Lakeside, Geraldton and Kalamunda before a first loss of 2018 against Joondalup last Thursday.
The Redbacks remain without Michael Vigor, Lee Roberts and now Alex Loughton, but aren’t exactly lacking firepower and experience with the likes of Shawn Redhage, Mo Barrow, Jackson Hussey, Ben Smith and Joel Wagner in the line-up still.
They host the 2016 champion Cougars on Friday with Cockburn so far having beaten Goldfields in Kalgoorlie in 2018 while losing to East Perth and Perry Lakes either side of that.
The other Friday night clash features the Lightning hosting the Eastern Suns.
Lakeside has started life under new coach Dave Daniels with losses to the Redbacks and Senators either side of a strong win against the Hawks. They are awaiting the arrival of Daniel Alexander but do have the services of Perth Wildcats development player Mason Bragg.
Kalamunda is still yet to be at full strength awaiting Louis Timms getting healthy and Courtney Belger’s arrival. But the Eastern Suns played well to beat the Slammers and Eagles on the back of impressive showings from big men Kevin Davis and Logan Viskovich.
In between, the Suns lost to the Grand Finalists of 2017 Perth and Joondalup so they are 2-2 heading into the Lakeside clash and trying to build some momentum.
There are then four matches taking place on Saturday night starting in Kalgoorlie with the Giants and Eagles both desperate for a win.
Goldfields is yet to taste victory in 2018 under new coach Scott Rubery, losing on the road to Rockingham and Stirling, and at home to Cockburn. Now after a two week break, the Giants will try to get on the winner’s list.
East Perth will be hungry to get back to winning, too, though following losses to Geraldton, Perry Lakes and Kalamunda since a season-opening win on the road to the Cougars.
Perry Lakes then hosts Rockingham at Bendat Basketball Centre on Saturday in another game with plenty of intrigue.
The Hawks have done well to still sit at 3-1 having only had the services of injured Tyler Monroe for one game.
They started off beating Mandurah with him before going on to also defeat East Perth and Cockburn without him in between a loss to Lakeside. Perry Lakes’ 36-point home win last Thursday against the Cougars was especially emphatic.
The Flames are still awaiting the presence of second import Curtis Washington, but did have Josh Ritchart, Dexter Kernich-Drew and Greg Hire together for the first time last Thursday with the result a 21-point road win over the Magic.
That sets the scene for yet another terrific Round 4 contest on Saturday night between Perry Lakes and Rockingham.
The two remaining undefeated teams in the Men’s SBL then do battle at Warwick Stadium with the Senators hosting the Wolves.
Stirling has started 2018 tremendously with wins against Rockingham by two points, Goldfields by 45 points, Willetton by nine points and Lakeside by 10 points.
The Wolves have also defeated the Tigers by six points, Eastern Suns by 25 points and Redbacks by 19 points.
Now top spot and being the last undefeated team in 2018 goes on the line when they meet on Saturday night.
The last game of the evening takes place at Willetton Basketball Stadium between the two losing semi finalists of last year, Willetton and Geraldton.
The Tigers lost their opening two games of 2018 before getting their first win last Thursday in their home opener against the Slammers. Meanwhile, the Buccs are 2-1 having lost on the road to the Redbacks while beating East Perth away and Rockingham in Geraldton.
Then on Sunday, the afternoon’s action begins with Kalamunda hosting Geraldton. The Suns will have played Lakeside on Friday night while the Buccs will have faced the Tigers the previous evening.
The Magic then host the Tigers from 2pm on Sunday afternoon with Mandurah playing its only game of the round and trying to improve on a 1-2 start against a Willetton team coming off a clash with the Buccs the previous evening.
The final game of the round then sees the Wolves host the Slammers at HBF Arena. Joondalup will have played Stirling in the top-of-the-table clash on Saturday night while South West will be making its only appearance of the round and still looking for a first win of 2018.
MEN’S SBL FIXTURES – WEEK 4
Perth Redbacks v Cockburn Cougars – Belmont Oasis 8.30pm
Lakeside Lightning v Kalamunda Eastern Suns – Lakeside Recreation Centre 8.30pm
Goldfields Giants v East Perth Eagles – Niels Hansen Basketball Centre 7.30pm
Perry Lakes Hawks v Rockingham Flames – Bendat Basketball Centre 8.00pm
Stirling Senators v Joondalup Wolves – Warwick Stadium 8.00pm
Willetton Tigers v Geraldton Buccaneers – Willetton Basketball Stadium 8.30pm
Kalamunda Eastern Suns v Geraldton Buccaneers – Ray Owen Sports Centre 12.00pm
Mandurah Magic v Willetton Tigers – Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre 2.00pm
Joondalup Wolves v South West Slammers – HBF Arena 4.00pm