Photo courtesy of Geoff Adams. Preview Round 4 of the NWBL as we hit the halfway mark of the regular season.

Kilsyth Cobras v Adelaide Thunder- Friday 23rd June @7pm
Kilsyth Cobras v Adelaide Thunder- Saturday 24th June @4pm
Kilsyth Cobras v Adelaide Thunder- Sunday 25th June @12pm

With the Bullets facing the ladder-leading Rollerhawks this weekend, Round 4 poses a big opportunity for the Cobras to gain some space inside the top four on their closest rivals while the Thunder will be aiming to claim their first win of the season.

Kilsyth lost their opening match of the year but have since put together four straight victories with Tristan Knowles and Shawn Russell doing the damage. Daniel Del Toso also arrived in Round 3 to boost their offensive stocks, averaging 11 points per contest while shooting 65% from the field.

In addition, Jeremy Tyndall, Brian Carminati and Jontee Brown will be returning from the Under-23 World Championships where the trio helped Australia clinch the bronze medal and the confidence they can take from an international tournament will prove invaluable returning to the NWBL.

Their extensive bench will be a concern for Adelaide who surrendered two scores of 100+ to the Blues last round and if they cannot contain Kilsyth’s range of scorers, they could suffer a similar fate this weekend.

Importantly for the Thunder, guys like Beau Buckley and Will Crooks provided great support for Adam Roocke and they will need to bring similar performances to have any hope of causing an upset while two wins could get them off the bottom of the ladder.

Red Dust Heelers v Be Active Perth Wheelcats- Friday 23rd June @7.30pm
Be Active Perth Wheelcats v Red Dust Heelers - Saturday 24th June @7.00pm
Be Active Perth Wheelcats v Red Dust Heelers- Sunday 25th June @12pm

Last year’s silver medalists are carrying a five-game losing streak into this round but as they only sit three points behind Red Dust in third place, this is a critical weekend for them.

A successful round for the Heelers will cement their place in the top four though and with Sydney Metro having the bye, second place is also on offer.

The Wheelcats could not get past Kilsyth in Round 3 despite the best efforts of Shaun Norris and Kim Robins while Thomas McHugh also took some of the scoring load in the absence of Amber Merritt.

Merritt should be back for Perth though to shore up their offence and Red Dust will be hoping they can welcome back Brad Ness who has not played since Round 2 to match their opponents on the scoreboard.

Averaging just 38 points per game against Wollongong a fortnight ago, the Heelers lacked firepower but with Ness back in the line-up alongside Ryan Morich, Adam Deans and Jannik Blair, they should be able to keep up with the Wheelcats, even when the series heads to Perth on Sunday.

Queensland Spinning Bullets v Wollongong Rollerhawks- Friday 23rd June @7pm
Queensland Spinning Bullets v Wollongong Rollerhawks- Saturday 24th June @7pm
Queensland Spinning Bullets v Wollongong Rollerhawks- Sunday 25th June @11am

Sitting on equal points with fourth-placed Kilsyth, the Bullets will be desperate to cause a couple of upsets against Wollongong in Round 4 and move their way into a finals position.

The Rollerhawks have only lost one game for the year though, a three-point defeat at the hands of Sydney Metro and are firming as Championship favourites with four players averaging more than 12 points per contest.

Brett Stibners is pacing them with 21.4 points, Michael Auprince is adding 15 and 9.4 rebounds while Nick Taylor is recording 12.5 and 8.4 assists (third in the league).

Despite that productive offence, they only average two more points per game than the Bullets with their defence getting the job done, giving up eight less points.

Tom O’Neill-Thorne is coming off an Under-23 World Championships where he captained the Spinners to a bronze medal and he was also named in the tournament’s All-Star Five.

His Queensland team mates from that World Champs include Jake Fulwood, Tom Holland, Steven Elliott, Bailey Rowland and Lachlin Dalton who will all be riding high and their chemistry will be key to breaking down Wollongong’s defences and putting together a winning score.


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