WE have plenty of intrigue right across the board in the three days of action in Round 3 of the West Coast Classic including a fascinating Joondalup Wolves weekend as they welcome back Ben Ettridge on Friday night, and then play away to the Warwick Senators on Saturday.
We are now coming into the third of nine rounds in the West Coast Classic for 2020 and with only four teams to make finals and every game taking on extra significance, there isn’t a game without plenty on the line.
Round 3 in the West Coast Classic gets underway on Friday night with the Perth Redbacks playing the East Perth Eagles with the Willetton Tigers also hosting the Perry Lakes Hawks and the Joondalup Wolves facing the Kalamunda Eastern Suns.
The Redbacks playing host to the Eagles should be a fascinating battle between a Perth team who has been up and down while East Perth has just one win on the board but has been unlucky in their two losses.
The best of the Redbacks when Caleb White, Marshall Nelson and Tevin Jackson have been firing with Joel Wagner running the show has been brilliant. That has seen them beat Mandurah and Cockburn, but they’ve looked like strugglers in losses to Perry Lakes and Joondalup.
East Perth beat Kalamunda in a remarkable comeback first up before then losing in a tight one to Geraldton and then losing to Mandurah in overtime setting the tone for a fascinating game on Friday night at Belmont Oasis.
Then also on Friday night, it should be another tremendous contest between the Willetton Tigers and Perry Lakes Hawks at Willetton Basketball Stadium.
The Tigers struggled first up at home to Lakeside but have looked good since with wins against Kalamunda and Mandurah while the Hawks have been a little up and down. They have beaten the Senators, Giants and Redbacks but lost to the Lightning along the way.
The winner on Friday night will certainly have some good momentum and a strong base to build on after three rounds.
The last game of Friday night then pits the Joondalup Wolves against the Kalamunda Eastern Suns at HBF Arena.
The Wolfpack under new coach Andrew Summerville and having signed championship winners Lochlan Cummings and Lee Roberts on the eve of the season are so far undefeated.
The opposite is the case for the Eastern Suns who have lost their three games to East Perth, Willetton and Goldfields to be 0-3 without an import and with Louis Timms also sitting out the West Coast Classic.
There might not ordinarily great anticipation featuring an unbeaten team against a winless one, but the occasion marks new Eastern Suns assistant coach Ben Ettridge’s first return to Joondalup since leading the Wolves to the last five SBL Grand Finals in-a-row.
Ettridge himself said on the SBL Shootaround podcast this week that he was looking forward to it and didn’t expect any ill-feelings from either side.
“I’m looking forward to it. I’ve already had a few messages from different people up there that are saying that it will be different seeing me sitting on the other side of the bench which it will be,” Ettridge said.
“And there are some people up there that I haven’t seen for a while even though I’ve caught up with the boys a few times over the off-season and over the break, and I still talk to them quite regularly.
“There’s a few there that we’ve maintained that relationship. It’s no different to a lot of guys around the league going back but walking in wearing an orange and black hoodie will be a change instead of a green one.
“I definitely won’t get lost going to the stadium so that’s a good thing but I might walk into the wrong changeroom.
“All those things will be a bit different but I’m looking forward to it and it was my home for 10 years and I left there with a lot of good memories and I’m looking forward to getting back up there to see what they’re like this year. That’s the thing for me.”
Then on Saturday night, the Perth Redbacks host the Geraldton Buccaneers with the Goldfields Giants facing the Rockingham Flames and in a cracker, the Warwick Senators play host to the Joondalup Wolves.
The Cockburn Cougars also play the Lakeside Lightning with the East Perth Eagles hosting the South West Slammers, and the Perry Lakes Hawks taking on the Mandurah Magic.
The round then concludes on Sunday afternoon at Ray Owen Sports Centre with the Kalamunda Eastern Suns playing host to the Geraldton Buccaneers.
WEST COAST CLASSIC 2020 – MEN
Perth Redbacks v East Perth Eagles – Belmont Oasis 8.30pm
Willetton Tigers v Perry Lakes Hawks – Willetton Basketball Stadium 8.30pm
Joondalup Wolves v Kalamunda Eastern Suns – HBF Arena 8.30pm
Perth Redbacks v Geraldton Buccaneers – Belmont Oasis 7.00pm
Goldfields Giants v Rockingham Flames – Niels Hansen Basketball Stadium 7.00pm
Warwick Senators v Joondalup Wolves – Warwick Stadium 7.00pm
Cockburn Cougars v Lakeside Lightning – Wally Hagan Stadium 7.00pm
East Perth Eagles v South West Slammers – Herb Graham Recreation Centre 7.00pm
Perry Lakes Hawks v Mandurah Magic – Bendat Basketball Centre 8.00pm
Kalamunda Eastern Suns v Geraldton Buccaneers – Ray Owen Sports Centre 12.00pm