ROUND 6 PREVIEW
Preview Round 6 with Wollongong, Sydney Metro and Queensland hosting games this weekend.
Wollongong Rollerhawks v Be Active Perth Wheelcats- Friday 7th July @7pm
Wollongong Rollerhawks v Be Active Perth Wheelcats- Saturday 8th July @7pm
Wollongong Rollerhawks v Be Active Perth Wheelcats- Sunday 9th July @11am
A re-match of last year’s Preliminary Final carries a lot of weight again for both teams this weekend as Wollongong aim to consolidate top spot while Perth need a couple of wins to cement their place in the top four.
The RollerHawks are on an eight-game winning streak and while they have become the first team to be assured of a playoff position, first place is still not quite secure thanks to Kilsyth’s own impressive winning streak.
Perth are coming off their most successful round, having swept Red Dust in three games and after some injuries interrupted their early season form, they now look capable of making some noise in the post-season.
Australian Rollers team mates will go head-to-head as Brett Stibners of Wollongong and Perth’s Shaun Norris look to grab the ascendancy on the scoreboard but you cannot discount the efforts of Michael Auprince and Kim Robins as well who are both averaging over 17 points per contest while also impacting the glass.
Wollongong’s ability to share the ball has been their strongest attribute though and while Norris averages double-figures in assists to sit second in the league, the Rollerhawks have Nick Taylor, Stibners and Luke Pople all collecting over six dimes per contest.
That, in turn, aids their shooting percentage which is a healthy 52% from the field overall compared to Perth’s 42% which will be a concern for the visitors but if they can take one or two games away from the ladder-leaders, it will be a successful weekend for the Wheelcats.
Sydney Metro Blues v Kilsyth Cobras- Saturday 8th July @2pm
Sydney Metro Blues v Kilsyth Cobras- Sunday 9th July @11am
This battle in Round 6 pits the third placed Blues against second placed Cobras and while neither team can be budged from their position, the results could play a major role in the standings at the end of the regular season.
If the clubs finish on the same points, head-to-head results will come into consideration but Kilsyth has the early edge after beating Sydney Metro by 47 points in Round 1.
Tristan Knowles had a triple-double in that meeting while Jontee Brown, Shaun Groenewegen, Michael D’Amelio and Shawn Russell all joined him in double-figure scoring as well.
Only John McPhail was able to get free for the Blues but they have bolstered their line-up since Round 1 with the arrival of US national player, Joe Chambers.
His move to the starting line-up last weekend surprisingly saw his point production diminish somewhat but Chambers still leads the competition with 27.6 points per game while CJ McCarthy-Grogan is another dangerous offensive player for Sydney Metro.
Together, they have the capacity to match Knowles and out-muscle the likes of Daniel Del Toso on the glass. A well-rounded team effort could see the Blues take the season series against Kilsyth this weekend, shoring up their chances of a top-two finish.
Queensland Spinning Bullets v Red Dust Heelers- Saturday 8th July @7pm
Queensland Spinning Bullets v Red Dust Heelers- Sunday 9th July @11am
Both these clubs sit just a point outside the top four currently but for the Heelers, this weekend shapes as a do-or-die round as they will have just three games remaining following these contests and a bye in Round 7.
The Bullets will be desperate as well though, having lost six consecutive games despite three strong performances against Kilsyth last weekend.
Tom O’Neill-Thorne continues to lead from the front but he received great assistance from Matt McShane and Jake Fulwood against the Cobras while Steven Elliott also chimed in.
They have a limited roster but that concern will be negated somewhat by the news that Brad Ness is out for the rest of the year for the Heelers after undergoing surgery on his shoulder.
Red Dust have been competing without him since Round 1 and know how to perform without their five-time Paralympian but in his absence, they may struggle to match Queensland on the scoreboard if O’Neill-Thorne fires.
Adam Deans, Jannik Blair and Ryan Morich have the ability to surprise them though while they will also look to Jake Kavanagh to have an influence under the rim and help control the tempo for the visitors.