THE exciting and emerging Goldfields Giants are looking forward to the challenge of having the Joondalup Wolves come to town in the West Coast Classic on Saturday night in one of a host of tantalising Round 5 match ups.
Getting to Round 5 in the West Coast Classic means that we have now moved past the halfway mark of the regular season which will last for nine weeks before the top four teams then reach the finals and decide the championship at the end of September.
That means that every game has some bearing on teams trying to reach finals and with the top four teams having lost one game so far after four rounds, then another two having lost just twice and then another couple of teams on three losses, there’s no shortage of teams in the finals hunt.
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The Goldfields Giants might not necessarily be one of those having won two of six matches so far, but this West Coast Classic has always been about building something to be successful for the future and it’s hard to argue they aren’t doing that.
The signs were difficult to watch in their season-opening loss to the Warwick Senators by 48 points. But the very next day and the Giants were vastly more competitive only losing to the Perry Lakes Hawks by six points.
The Giants then went back to Kalgoorlie and impressed with home wins against the Kalamunda Eastern Suns and Rockingham Flames, and then put in strong showings on the road last weekend despite losing to Willetton by three points and Cockburn by six.
But with such an exciting pair of bigs with Majier Garang and Mayo Malek, and then a productive and emerging Fletcher Klasztorny, Jerome Reid and Damon Ballantyne with a young and exciting bench led by Riley Duncan and Noah Hinkley, you have to like what Creek and the Giants are building.
That doesn’t guarantee anything now this Saturday night on their home floor against Lee Roberts, Lochlan Cumming, Seb Salinas, Trian Iliadis, Reece Maxwell and the second-placed 5-1 Joondalup Wolves, but this was never going to be judged on wins and losses.
All Creek is hoping to see on Saturday night is his Giants taking up the challenge the Wolfpack will bring and should a win eventuate from that too, then that’s a nice bonus.
“It will be a good test for sure but I think we are actually in a very short period of time becoming quite battle hardened,” Creek said.
“The more close games you play, they are better for you than a 40-point loss or a 40-point win.
“You learn very quickly what you need to do and the players learn under stress and duress, and who knows what’s going to happen but I think we are better prepared for it. I’m looking forward to the challenge now this week.”
Round 5 in the West Coast Classic gets underway with four matches on Friday night with the South West Slammers hosting the Lakeside Lightning at Eaton Recreation Centre.
The Cockburn Cougars are at home to the Warwick Senators in what shapes as a fascinating match up.
The Cougars have now won three straight on the back of the duo of Gavin Field and Luke Travers working sensationally together but the Senators have won four of their five games so far in the West Coast Classic and are coming in on a four-match winning streak.
If watching veterans like Gavin Field and Cody Ellis or young guns Luke Travers and Wani Swaka Lo Buluk going at it doesn’t get you excited then few things will when it comes to the West Coast Classic.
Then also on Friday night, the Willetton Tigers travel to Herb Graham Recreation Centre to take on the East Perth Eagles, and while the playoffs look like they will be tough for both teams to reach, they are showing plenty of good signs moving forward.
Friday night then concludes with another terrific contest with the Perry Lakes Hawks hosting the Rockingham Flames at Bendat Basketball Centre.
The Flames bounced back from losing in Kalgoorlie and at Lakeside with a good win over East Perth last Saturday night to steady at 4-2 while the Hawks have now won four straight to be 6-1 and sitting atop the West Coast Classic coming into Round 5.
On top of the Giants hosting the Wolves on Saturday night, the Geraldton Buccaneers are at home again to the Mandurah Magic with both teams hunting their second wins of the West Coast Classic.
The Perth Redbacks then open their double-header weekend looking to remain unbeaten at Belmont Oasis by hosting a Slammers team fresh off hosting the Lightning on Friday night.
The Rockingham Flames host the Willetton Tigers with both teams having played on Friday as well before the Kalamunda Eastern Suns hunt their second win at home to the Cockburn Cougars.
The action isn’t done there, with a cracker on Sunday afternoon then taking place at Warwick Stadium between the Warwick Senators and Perth Redbacks.
WEST COAST CLASSIC 2020 – MEN
South West Slammers v Lakeside Lightning – Eaton Recreation Centre 8.30pm
Cockburn Cougars v Warwick Senators – Wally Hagan Stadium 8.30pm
East Perth Eagles v Willetton Tigers – Herb Graham Recreation Centre 8.30pm
Perry Lakes Hawks v Rockingham Flames – Bendat Basketball Centre 8.30pm
Geraldton Buccaneers v Mandurah Magic – Active West Stadium 6.00pm
Goldfields Giants v Joondalup Wolves – Niels Hansen Basketball Stadium 7.00pm
Perth Redbacks v South West Slammers – Belmont Oasis 7.00pm
Rockingham Flames v Willetton Tigers – Mike Barnett Sports Complex 8.00pm
Kalamunda Eastern Suns v Cockburn Cougars – Ray Owen Sports Centre 8.30pm
Warwick Senators v Perth Redbacks – Warwick Stadium 2.00pm