No Norris? No Worries.

The Be Active Perth Wheelcats continued their dominance in season 2013 and joined the Rollerhawks in round two as the only teams not to suffer a loss.

The Wheelcats put on a clinic in game one against Adelaide and the 104-26 win is probably not a true indication of how much Adelaide has improved over the last 12 months.

An almost 50 point win against Victoria followed, but a tougher than expected 24 point win against the RSL QLD Spinning Bullets was the weekend’s biggest surprise. Chasing a quarter time deficit the Wheelcats were lucky to turn at half time with a one point lead. An undersized Spinning Bullets owned both keyways and really tested Perth’s perimeter shooting early in the game while creating plenty of opportunities for themselves under the basket. A big second half got the Wheelcats over the line, but their weaknesses were exposed.

The Wheelcats sit undefeated, on top of the NWBL ladder with a 5-0 record and a percentage almost double that of second place (195.15%). They’ve played four of their five games so far this season against top four teams which leaves us to ponder the question; can the Wheelcats be stopped in 2013?

Boasting arguably the most impressive list in the NWBL, evidence by the fact that every single player that travelled to Brisbane is currently involved in an Australian program, the Wheelcats have come out of a golden era of outstanding players and it doesn’t seem to be nearing an end. They have the luxury of players like; Jake Kavanagh, Kayl Jeffrey, Kim Robins, Adam Deans, Andrew Liddawi and Ryan Morich who would ordinarily find themselves in a starting line-up of most NWBL teams, either coming off the bench or finding themselves unable to break into a travelling Perth team.

The biggest inclusions for the Wheelcats in 2013 have been the three Rollers boys in; Justin Eveson, Michael Hartnett and Brad Ness. The additions of Ness and Eveson take some pressure off the developing Adam Deans who, (it’s easy to forget) has only played a handful of seasons in the NWBL. Eveson continues to be the engine room for this team and the one they look to when they’re under pressure. He currently leads the league in points (23.8 points per game), rebounds (12.2 rebounds per game) and assists (8.6 assists per game); his numbers made even more impressive by the fact that he only average 24 minutes per game and has only once played more than 27 minutes this year.

A Shaun Norris injury has limited his impact this year, but such is the depth of the Wheelcats roster that they have a readymade replacement in Kim Robins who’s come in and done his job averaging 10 points and four rebounds in an average of 19 minutes game time.

The next crop of Wheelcats players are spoilt for quality players to learn from and play against on a regular basis. In the last two years Wollongong has proved the Wheelcats is very beatable and after being pushed on the weekend by a young QLD side, Perth is by no means invincible but on current form it’s hard to look past them in 2013.


Written by Joel Mackenzie


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