CLINT Steindl, Lee Roberts and Michael Vigor will all be among the faces to make their first appearances in the 2018 Men’s SBL season as part of Round 10 action after Brandon Thompson, Daniel Alexander, Bryan Michaels, Courtney Belger and Earnest Ross have done the same in recent weeks.
The Men’s SBL is becoming loaded with top quality talent as we enter Round 10 of the 2018 season with Steindl set to line up for the Cockburn Cougars twice this weekend and Perth Redbacks championship winners Michael Vigor and Lee Roberts to return on Friday night.
That’s on the back of Ross playing with the Geraldton Buccaneers, Belger with the Kalamunda Eastern Suns, Alexander and Michaels with the Lakeside Lightning, and Thompson with the South West Slammers in recent weeks as well.
The Round 10 Men’s SBL action begins on Friday night with the Mandurah Magic playing the Lakeside Lightning at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre, and the Rockingham Flames hosting the Perth Redbacks at Mike Barnett Sports Complex.
Saturday night gets underway with the Lakeside Lightning playing the Goldfields Giants and the Geraldton Buccaneers facing the Perry Lakes Hawks.
The Willetton Tigers also host the Joondalup Wolves, the East Perth Eagles play the Cockburn Cougars and the Kalamunda Eastern Suns take on the Mandurah Magic.
Then on Sunday afternoon, the Joondalup Wolves face the Goldfields Giants, the Cockburn Cougars play the Willetton Tigers and the Stirling Senators take on the South West Slammers.
The Friday night Men’s SBL action begins in Mandurah with the Magic hosting the Lightning in a contest between two teams trying to maintain touch with a playoff position.
The Magic pulled off a stunning upset a couple of weeks ago beating the Buccs in Geraldton, but they haven’t been able to back it up since losing to the Eagles by 34 points and then in heartbreaking fashion against the Giants at Kambalda by a point last Saturday night.
That has seen Mandurah slip to a 2-8 record on the season meaning they do need to start stringing some wins together if they hope to maintain touch for a playoff position.
Their opponents on Friday night are a Lakeside team now with the services of Daniel Alexander and Bryan Michaels alongside import guard John Isenbarger, rebounding warrior Jarrad Prue and a good core of emerging players including Rowan Mackenzie, Michael Garbellini and Hayden Bell.
However, the Lightning do only hold a 4-7 record entering Friday’s clash in Mandurah so they too do need to start stringing some victories together.
The other Friday night contest in Rockingham should be a cracker featuring the Flames hosting the Redbacks.
For starters, watching long-time championship winning NBL teammates from the Perth Wildcats Greg Hire and Shawn Redhage go to battle on opposite sides of the floor will be worth the price of admission alone.
Add in the fact that the Redbacks will be welcoming back big men Michael Vigor and Lee Roberts for their first games of the season as well, and the game takes on plenty of added intrigue.
The Flames come into the contest with a 6-6 record in seventh position in the Men’s SBL but that’s a disappointing result after they were 6-2.
Since beating the Slammers by 40 points, the Flames have lost to the Wolves by two points, the Tigers by nine, the Buccaneers by 36 and the Eastern Suns by 12 meaning they need a win as they host the defending champions on Friday night.
The Redbacks sit in third spot with a 9-3 record as they now play at full strength for the first time in 2018.
The additions of Mo Barrow and Jackson Hussey to a starting group including Redhage, Joel Wagner and Ben Smith has certainly helped the Redbacks remain strong without Roberts and Vigor.
They enter Friday’s clash having won their past three games over Stirling, Lakeside and South West since a loss at Willetton to the Tigers back on April 28.
It’s then a big Saturday night in the Men’s SBL with five matches starting at Lakeside Recreation Centre with the Lightning hosting the Giants.
The Lightning will have already played the Magic on Friday night while the Giants begin their road double-header searching for their third win of the season on the back of a one-point thrilling victory against the Magic last Saturday night in Kambalda.
Then in Geraldton, the Buccs host the Hawks at Active West Stadium in another fascinating match up.
Geraldton comes into the game in second position with a 9-2 record having responded well to a surprise home loss to Mandurah by since beating Stirling, Rockingham and Cockburn by an average of 20 points.
Perry Lakes make the trip to Geraldton sitting in sixth position with a 6-5 record on a two-game losing streak after defeats to the Cougars and Slammers following a three-game winning run.
The Tigers and Wolves also meet at Willetton Basketball Stadium in a contest between two teams who have at least reached the semi finals the past two years.
Willetton and Joondalup met in the semi finals of 2016 with the Wolves prevailing in three games on the back of home court advantage.
Both were locked in a fight over top spot for most of 2017 and ended up finishing first and second but the Tigers fell short in the semi finals while the Wolfpack reached a third successive Grand Final.
Now both enter Saturday night’s contest in good form with the Tigers sitting in fourth position at 7-3 having now won six matches in succession after opening 2018 1-3.
Meanwhile, the Wolves sit in top spot with a 10-1 record with their lone loss of 2018 so far coming on the road to the Buccs in Geraldton.
The Eagles and Cougars then lock horns at Morley Sport and Recreation Centre with Cockburn unveiling Perth Wildcats sharpshooter Clint Steindl.
Steindl, a former collegiate star at St Mary’s who started his NBL career with the Cairns Taipans and Townsville Crocodiles, including winning the league Most Improved Player award in 2016, joined the Wildcats midway through the 2017/18 season.
He remains contracted to the Wildcats too in the NBL and now will begin his first stint in the SBL lining up for the Cougars who try to improve on their 4-7 record.
They take on the Eagles at Morley on Saturday night with East Perth in eighth position with a 5-8 record.
The final game on Saturday night then takes place at Ray Owen Sports Centre with the Eastern Suns hosting the Magic.
The Magic will have already played the Lightning at home on Friday night while Kalamunda enters the game on its home floor in ninth position with a 5-8 record coming off a good 12-point win against the Flames on the road last Friday night.
There’s another three matches on Sunday in the Men’s SBL starting at HBF Arena with the Wolfpack hosting the Giants.
The Wolves will be coming off playing the Tigers on Saturday night with the Giants backing up their clash with the Lightning.
The Cougars then host the Tigers at Wally Hagan Stadium with both coming off Saturday night battles.
It will be Steindl’s first home game for the Cougars as they back up playing East Perth the night before by hosting a Willetton team coming off its clash with the Wolves.
Then finally at Warwick Stadium, the Senators take on the Slammers with both teams making their only appearances of Round 10.
Stirling enters Round 10 in fifth position with a 7-5 record having ended a three-game losing run last Saturday night with a 94-91 win over the Eagles.
The Slammers, meanwhile, have now won three of their past four matches after an 0-7 start to the season as they look to continue to build momentum on the back of imports Brian Voelkel and Brandon Thompson, and veterans Michael Lay and Clive Weeden.
MEN’S SBL FIXTURES – WEEK 10
Mandurah Magic v Lakeside Lightning – Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre 8.30pm
Rockingham Flames v Perth Redbacks – Mike Barnett Sports Complex 8.30pm
Lakeside Lightning v Goldfields Giants – Lakeside Recreation Centre 7.30pm
Geraldton Buccaneers v Perry Lakes Hawks – Active West Stadium 7.30pm
Willetton Tigers v Joondalup Wolves – Willetton Basketball Stadium 8.00pm
East Perth Eagles v Cockburn Cougars – Morley Sport and Recreation Centre 8.00pm
Kalamunda Eastern Suns v Mandurah Magic – Ray Owen Sports Centre 8.30pm
Joondalup Wolves v Goldfields Giants – HBF Arena 12.00pm
Cockburn Cougars v Willetton Tigers – Wally Hagan Stadium 2.00pm
Stirling Senators v South West Slammers – Warwick Stadium 4.00pm