ROUND 7 PREVIEW
Preview the penultimate round of the 2017 regular season with all four playoff positions still up for grabs.
Kilsyth Cobras v Wollongong Rollerhawks- Saturday 22nd July @4pm
Kilsyth Cobras v Wollongong Rollerhawks- Sunday 23rd July @12pm
The battle for top spot will be waged this weekend as the first-placed Rollerhawks visit the second-placed Cobras on Saturday and Sunday.
Wollongong have an 11-point edge over Kilsyth but have played three more games with these two contests marking their final matches of the regular season.
That means they only need to claim one victory to cement their place on top of the ladder heading into the post-season but for the Cobras, two wins in Round 7 would set them up nicely for a run at first place in the last round.
Meeting for the first time since opening night, Wollongong will be aiming to replicate their eight-point win from that game when they tallied 28 assists on 31 field goals.
Nick Taylor (13 points, 15 assists) and Luke Pople (22 points, seven assists) did the damage in that regard, helping to feed Brett Stibners for 26 points while Michael Auprince owned the front court to finish with 13 points and 14 rebounds.
That spread of scorers eventually overwhelmed Kilsyth despite four Cobras players reaching double-figures themselves and Tristan Knowles (23 points, ten rebounds, 13 assists) tallying a triple-double.
The home side will be wary of how well the Rollerhawks share the ball and will look to restrict Auprince’s ability to provide second chance opportunities and if they can restrict those two areas of Wollongong’s game, Knowles, Shaun Groenewegen and Shawn Russell have the firepower to claim a couple of wins.
Sydney Metro Blues v Qld Spinning Bullets- Saturday 22nd July @2pm
Sydney Metro Blues v Qld Spinning Bullets- Sunday 23rd July @11am
The top four will continue to be shaped in this contest with Sydney Metro, currently sitting third, hosting the fourth-placed Spinning Bullets.
A top-two opportunity is now out of the equation for Queensland but they can still move above the Blues with a successful run home while for the hosts, they can overtake Kilsyth if results fall their way.
Both teams are still in danger of missing the playoffs as well though so cannot afford to drop too many games which makes these two clashes even more important.
From a 3-4 record, Sydney Metro have found their mojo and have claimed five wins from their past six games with Joe Chambers proving to be a revelatory addition.
His presence will make a difference for the Blues this weekend but the Spinning Bullets know how to defeat the home side, having taken care of them by 11 points back in Round 1.
Tom O’Neill-Thorne shone with 24 points, nine rebounds and five assists in that contest but Queensland were mostly benefited by eight players hitting the scoreboard including Kurt Thomson, Daniel Anstey and Steven Elliott.
Another team effort will be needed to match the Blues who score 12 points more per game than Queensland as CJ McCarthy-Grogan and John McPhail are having strong seasons while Georgia Munro-Cook is coming off a Player of the Week performance in the WNWBL.
Be Active Perth Wheelcats v Adelaide Thunder- Saturday 22nd July @7pm
Be Active Perth Wheelcats v Adelaide Thunder- Sunday 23rd July @12pm
The Thunder are still searching for their first victory in their return to the league this year but they come up against a desperate Wheelcats team this weekend who are fighting to stay in touch with the top four.
Dropping all three games to the Rollerhawks last round, Perth dropped to fifth but they only sit two points behind fourth-placed Queensland and six points behind Sydney Metro so their playoff hopes are certainly still alive.
A shortened roster is not helping them in 2017 but the combination of Kim Robins and Shaun Norris remains a deadly offensive duo while Amber Merritt has the ability to catch fire if left open.
If Thomas McHugh and Andrew Dewberry contribute as well, Perth look like a medal contender but they have suffered from inconsistency throughout the regular season.
Adelaide will be buoyed by their Round 1 performance against the Wheelcats, when they scored their second highest total for the year as six players hit the scoreboard.
Most impressively, Adam Roocke, Jay Dohnt and Phillip Stephens all pulled down ten rebounds to give the Thunder an overall 45-41 edge on the boards and if they can repeat that performance and control the tempo of the game, they will give themselves a chance on the road this weekend.