TWO huge regional contests on Saturday night highlight Round 10 in the Men’s SBL with the Geraldton Buccaneers and Perry Lakes Hawks both desperate for bounce back wins with the Goldfields Giants also hosting the Lakeside Lightning.
With the Buccs and Hawks having surprisingly tough Round 9 match ups in the Men’s SBL, that sets the tone for a fascinating contest between last year’s minor premiers and the defending champions on Saturday at Active West Stadium.
The Giants also return home to Niels Hansen Basketball Centre on the back of two tremendous road wins hosting a Lightning team out to return to the winner’s list following a surprise loss to the East Perth Eagles.
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Round 10 in the Men’s SBL gets underway on Friday night with three matches that sees the Willetton Tigers play the Joondalup Wolves, the Warwick Senators take on the Cockburn Cougars, and the South West Slammers host the Rockingham Flames.
Then on Saturday night on top of the big match ups in Kalgoorlie and Geraldton, the Cockburn Cougars play the Mandurah Magic, the East Perth Eagles face the Willetton Tigers, and the Kalamunda Eastern Suns take on the Perth Redbacks.
Round 10 in the Men’s SBL begins on Friday night at Willetton Basketball Stadium with the Tigers hosting the Wolves.
Willetton welcomed its new import, Chris Galbreath, last Friday night but still fell to the Perth Redbacks to mean they have lost six of their past seven coming into the clash against the Wolfpack.
The Wolves were coming off a loss to the Senators the previous week, but beat both the Cougars and Magic last weekend to improve to a 9-3 record on the season as they look to continue their momentum away to the Tigers.
Also on Friday night, the league-leading Senators host the Cougars at Warwick Stadium.
Warwick is the hottest team in the Men’s SBL having won seven games straight to now sit in top spot at 8-2 with a deep and long team even with Caleb Davis sidelined with an ankle injury.
They will pose a stern test for the Cougars but with Gavin Field at the helm and some good warriors in support, they are always competitive and will head to Warwick in search of a fourth win of the season and to snap a three-game losing slide.
Lastly on Friday night, the Slammers host the Flames at Eaton Recreation Centre.
The Slammers will still be without new import Terrell Carter and come into the game having lost their first 11 games of 2019 and things won’t get any easier against Rockingham.
The Flames won’t quite be at full strength either unlike against Perry Lakes last Friday night when they won by 24 points, but they are looking ominous at 8-4 in fifth position with things starting to click for them.
Flames coach Ryan Petrik just wants more time for his new group to continue to grow together.
“It’s more about us just getting reps right now. We’ve argued to our guys all season that we need to be two per cent better in a week’s time than this week, we need to keep building gradually,” Petrik said.
“Every now and then we’ll run into a team like Warwick who are phenomenal and we’ll get taught what the level is we need to get to. But we need to get better two or three per cent better every week, we can’t have drop offs and our biggest weakness this year is that we’re a new group.
“We have new coaching staff, new offences and defences, and a lot of new players. Teams like Perry Lakes, Geraldton, Joondalup and even Warwick have all had very similar groups for a long time whereas we are new.
“We have a lot of talent, we understand that but we don’t have any continuity. We need to get better in every game and every practice to catch up to those elite teams, and that’s no different this week against the Slammers.”
Saturday night in the Men’s SBL begins with the Cougars hosting the Magic at Wally Hagan Stadium.
Cockburn will be coming off its trip to Warwick on Friday night while Mandurah will make its only appearance of the weekend looking for a third win of the season and to snap a four-game losing run.
Kalgoorlie will play host to one of their most anticipated match ups in some time when the Giants take on the Lightning on Saturday night.
The Giants have won four of their five games on their home floor this season and then last weekend they were outstanding on their double-header road trip beating both the Perry Lakes Hawks and Perth Redbacks.
That sees Goldfields now hold a three-game winning streak to improve to an 8-4 record ahead of hosting Lakeside on Saturday night.
The Lightning arrive in Kalgoorlie in fourth position at 7-3 but desperate to bounce back from a loss to East Perth last Saturday night.
Then also on Saturday night, the Buccaneers and Hawks meet in a heavyweight battle at Active West Stadium.
The Buccs and Hawks are expected to be genuine championship contenders as the season advances meaning going on a losing streak is hardly ideal.
Geraldton lost at home to Kalamunda last Saturday night while scoring just 66 points, which is 19 points lower than their previous lowest scoring outing of the season.
But bouncing back will be anything but easy even on their home floor against the defending champion Perry Lakes.
The Hawks added Perth Wildcats NBL legend Shawn Redhage to its line-up last weekend but the results were tough losses on their home floor to Rockingham and Goldfields.
They now hit the road looking to improve on their 7-5 record and begin to click with a supremely talented group that includes Redhage, Clint Steindl, Ben Purser, Brian Carlwell, Ryan Smith and Kyle Sovine.
East Perth is also back home on Saturday night taking on Willetton at Herb Graham Recreation Centre.
The Eagles returned to the winner’s list last Saturday night beating Lakeside as they now attempt to make it two straight to improve on their 5-7 record against a Tigers team coming off playing host to the Wolfpack on Friday night.
Eagles coach Adam Forde was disappointed in the loss to Willetton on the road earlier in the season and is looking for a measure of revenge.
“We dropped the ball when we played them last time. We started off the game great and they came back, and they brought it back again but then in the fourth quarter we just looked lost,” Forde said.
“The motivation for us is that we feel like that was one that we let get away so they are coming to our home court and we need to come out with the same mindset that we had for those three quarters against Lakeside, and it all starts this week at training.”
The round concludes on Saturday night at Ray Owen Sports Centre with what should be another contest between the Eastern Suns and Redbacks.
Kalamunda produced a tremendous performance last week to beat the Buccs in Geraldton and now the Eastern Suns look to back it up on their home floor with new import Javion Blake joining the likes of Josh Braun and Louis Timms in an impressive looking line-up under coach Mark Utley.
The Redbacks might have lost to the Giants on Sunday but they have been playing impressively in recent times too with Marshall Nelson and Zac Gattorna stepping up, Jourdan DeMuynck adding plenty and Joel Wagner leading from the front.
MEN’S SBL FIXTURES – WEEK 10
Willetton Tigers v Chambers Franklyn Joondalup City Wolves – Willetton Basketball Stadium 8.30pm
Bethanie Warwick Senators v Prestige Honda Melville Cockburn Cougars – Warwick Stadium 8.30pm
Print Sync South West Slammers v Sinclair McDonald’s Rockingham Flames – Eaton Recreation Centre 8.30pm
Prestige Honda Melville Cockburn Cougars v Mandurah Magic – Wally Hagan Stadium 7.00pm
Northern Star Resources Goldfields Giants v Lakeside Lightning – Niels Hansen Basketball Centre 7.30pm
Quadrio Earthmoving Geraldton Buccaneers v ID Athletic Perry Lakes Hawks – Active West Stadium 7.30pm
CMTG East Perth Eagles v Willetton Tigers – Herb Graham Recreation Centre 8.00pm
Kalamunda Eastern Suns v Texture WA Perth Redbacks – Ray Owen Sports Centre 8.30pm