发布时间：2018-04-12 21:55 阅读 次
ALBURY-Wodonga Bandits coach Jim Wilson and his North West Tasmania Thunder counterpart Mark Radford both believe tonight’s match at Albury Sports Stadium will be a season-defining contest.
Both teams sit on the fringe of the top four in their respective conferences, the Bandits in fifth place in the East, while the Thunder also lie in fifth, albeit in the South conference, trailing fellow Apple Isle team Hobart only on percentage.
The winner of tonight’s match will also snap a losing streak, the Border outfit having dropped its past three matches while NW Tasmania has lost two in a row.
“The next four or five games for us are crucial,” Wilson said.
“Tonight in particular is a key game; there are five teams with about two games separating them on the ladder.”
Radford echoed Wilson’s comments, the Thunder coach believing the entire road trip could determine his team’s finals hopes.
“For us, sitting on the edge of the top four, this weekend is season-defining,” he said.
“Our form hasn’t been bad but it hasn’t been great either so we need to find some consistency.
“I’m looking for us to show some form this weekend and we’re confident we’re going to do well.”
In a major blow for the home team, the Bandits will be without the services of co-captain Luke McKerrow for the next eight weeks as he recovers from a ruptured spleen.
McKerrow got the injury last Saturday night against the Australian Institute of Sport and after initially being cleared of any internal injuries, was informed of the spleen damage after consulting his doctor in Albury.
With his point guard stocks depleted, Wilson will look to co-captain Nick Payne and young playmaker Matt de Koeyer to help Josh Morgan run the offence.
“Matt (de Koeyer) played some point guard last week and did well,” Wilson said.
“He’ll get more minutes against the Thunder and as he goes on, he’ll be more comfortable running the offence.”
Wilson believes the match will be a tight contest and said his team’s focus was on minimising the damage the Thunder’s key players were capable of inflicting.
“They (the Thunder) rely heavily on six players,” he said.
“We’ll pay attention to everyone, especially Ben and Sam Armstrong in the backcourt and try to minimise their points.”
Radford said the Bandits were a much-improved team this year and could not be taken lightly.
“They’re a well-coached team and Jim (Wilson) has done a very good job of improving the team,” he said.
“This season is so even, if you don’t come prepared to play hard every night, teams will hurt you and that’s what happened on occasion with us.”
After two seasons of bringing in new import players, Radford believes he has found the ideal mix with US players Ben Sturgill and Justin Allen.
Allen is averaging 22 points and a league-leading 16.3 rebounds per game while 202cm centre Sturgill is providing a second inside presence with 19 points and 11.6 rebounds per match.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.