WE no longer have a winless or undefeated team in the Men’s West Coast Classic meaning spots in the top four remain right up for grabs coming into Round 4 which will finally see defending SBL champions Geraldton Buccaneers get to play on their home floor.
Nothing shows just how competitive and fascinating the West Coast Classic is more than the fact that after only three rounds every team in the competition has won and lost at least one game.
There are still the standouts like the Perry Lakes Hawks, Joondalup Wolves, Warwick Senators, Lakeside Lightning and Rockingham Flames who have lost just once, and those struggling like the Cockburn Cougars, South West Slammers, Kalamunda Eastern Suns, Mandurah Magic and Geraldton Buccaneers with one win, but any team can win on any given night.
That’s on show with the Round 4 set of fixtures too which begins on Friday night with the Perth Redbacks against the Willetton Tigers while the East Perth Eagles play the Cockburn Cougars, and the Lakeside Lightning face the Rockingham Flames.
It’s then a monster Saturday of action beginning with the Geraldton Buccaneers playing their first home match against the Warwick Senators. The Mandurah Magic also take on the Joondalup Wolves while the South West Slammers face the Perry Lakes Hawks.
The Rockingham Flames also face the East Perth Eagles with the Willetton Tigers hosting the Goldfields Giants and the Kalamunda Eastern Suns up against the Lakeside Lightning.
The round then concludes on Sunday afternoon at Wally Hagan Stadium with the Cockburn Cougars playing the Goldfields Giants.
Friday night in the Men’s West Coast Classic sees the Redbacks look to remain unbeaten this season at Belmont Oasis when they host the Tigers.
The best of the Redbacks this season has been scintillating with Joel Wagner setting things up for Marshall Nelson, Tevin Jackson and Caleb White, and that included two wins last weekend over the Eagles and Buccs to improve to 4-2.
The Tigers are 2-2 and can set up a run for the finals with a win on the road on Friday night.
Then also on Friday, the Eagles return to Herb Graham Recreation Center to host the Cougars in a fascinating match up.
With Shaquille Maharaj leading the way, East Perth had a good win on Saturday night against the Slammers so come in feeling good about themselves but so do the Cougars after beating Lakeside with their big three of Jaarod Holmes, Gavin Field and Luke Travers on fire.
Lastly on Friday, it’s a beauty between the Lightning and Flames at Lakeside Recreation Centre. Rockingham lost its first game of the West Coast Classic last Saturday night in Kalgoorlie as did Lakeside on the same evening to Cockburn so seeing who bounces back the best will be fascinating.
Saturday evening will see defending SBL champions Geraldton get to play on Active West Stadium for the first time in the West Coast Classic and unveil their championship banner when they host the on-fire Warwick Senators.
The Buccs have had three straight road trips to open the West Coast Classic and have just the one win to show from the six games, but this is about building for the future now without Jesse and Liam Hunt the rest of the way.
There is Carter Cook, Aaron Ralph and Mat Wundenberg to keep things afloat, but it’s all about getting developmental time into Brayden Inger, River Joseph, Dempsey Joseph, Xavier Shaw, Johny Narkle and the like.
That doesn’t mean they won’t be hard to beat in Geraldton, though, even with the Senators on fire having beaten the Joondalup Wolves last Saturday night.
After a long three weeks and a massive wait from winning last year’s championship, Buccs coach Dayle Joseph is excited now for Saturday night.
“We are pretty excited obviously. It’s going to be funny actually and we still don’t know how it will go, it might be a bit of an indoor-outdoor type of thing,” Joseph said.
“We’re not sure if the roof will be on in time for that first game, they are a bit behind time and that’s held us up a little bit with our practice too. It’s been a bit of an interference for us, but it did have to be done and when it’s finished it will be great.
“But we can’t wait to get back on our home floor. We’ll wait and see how many home fans we can have in there but just to play at home, I think everyone just wants to get out and watch so it will be great.”
Also on Saturday night, the Magic will have their hands full trying to stay close to a hungry Wolfpack team at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre.
The Slammers also have a big task at home at Eaton Recreation Centre against the league-leading Hawks.
The Tigers back up their Friday night clash against the Redbacks by hosting the Giants at Willetton Basketball Stadium on Saturday night. Goldfields is back on the road after impressive home wins over the Suns and Flames inspired by Mayo Malek and Majier Garang.
Then lastly on Saturday night, the Eastern Suns attempt to make it two wins in-a-row when they play host to the Lightning before on Sunday, the Cougars are at home at Wally Hagan Stadium to the Giants.
WEST COAST CLASSIC 2020 – MEN
Perth Redbacks v Willetton Tigers – Belmont Oasis 8.30pm
East Perth Eagles v Cockburn Cougars – Herb Graham Recreation Centre 8.30pm
Lakeside Lightning v Rockingham Flames – Lakeside Recreation Centre 8.30pm
Geraldton Buccaneers v Warwick Senators – Active West Stadium 6.00pm
Mandurah Magic v Joondalup Wolves – Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre 7.00pm
South West Slammers v Perry Lakes Hawks – Eaton Recreation Centre 7.00pm
Rockingham Flames v East Perth Eagles – Mike Barnett Sports Complex 8.00pm
Willetton Tigers v Goldfields Giants – Willetton Basketball Stadium 8.00pm
Kalamunda Eastern Suns v Lakeside Lightning – Ray Owen Sports Centre 8.30pm
Cockburn Cougars v Goldfields Giants – Wally Hagan Stadium 12.00pm