ROUND 8 PREVIEW
Queensland Spinning Bullets v Sydney Metro Blues- Saturday 23rd June @7pm
Queensland Spinning Bullets v Sydney Metro Blues - Sunday 24th June @10am
Coming off two impressive victories last weekend against Red Dust, Queensland will back themselves to take care of sixth-placed Sydney Metro this round and move ahead of Wollongong into top spot on the ladder.
These are the Blues’ last two games of the regular season which could inspire them to finish 2018 strongly but without the chance of reaching the playoffs, the Spinning Bullets have more to play for in the immediate future.
CJ McCarthy-Grogan has been outstanding for the Blues and came close to recording a quadruple-double last weekend while averaging 25.7 points (fourth in the league), 13.6 rebounds (first) and eight assists (sixth) per game for the season.
Anderson Parker has impressed as well with 13.9 points per contest and Josh Meoli sits second in the team for assists but he has only been able to play ten games for 2018 while McCarthy-Grogan and Parker have been available for nine games and that lack of consistency within the team has hurt their cause.
They will need a well-rounded team performance to get over the line against the Spinning Bullets in Round 8 as the hosts have ten players averaging at least five points per game.
They also added Aussie Roller Bill Latham last weekend and his strength under the rim, combined with captain Tom O’Neill-Thorne, will be Sydney Metro’s biggest concern.
Latham recorded 23.5 points, 15 rebounds and six assists in his first two games and having fit into the team seamlessly, Queensland now look ready to become Championship favourites as we head towards the finals next month.
Kilsyth Cobras v Adelaide Thunder- Friday 22nd June @6pm
A different weekend for the Cobras will see them take on Adelaide on Friday night before Red Dust arrive for a double-header on Saturday and Sunday.
Having played the equal-least amount of games of any team in the competition so far, Kilsyth will be pleased by their current third-place on the ladder and they have the chance to move into first with success in Round 8.
They are also on a five-game winning streak and have defeated the Thunder twice this season by an average margin of 37.5 points.
Luke Watkins missed those contests for Adelaide so as their most prolific scorer this season, he will help in matching the home side on the scoreboard while a player like Beau Buckley or Will Crooks may be needed to add some firepower at the offensive end.
However, the Thunder still need to find a way to restrict the influence of Tristan Knowles, who has scored 34.5 points per game against them this season while Jontee Brown dominated the glass in their second meeting with 20 rebounds to go with 31 points.
Kilsyth Cobras v Red Dust Heelers- Saturday 23rd June @3.30pm
Kilsyth Cobras v Red Dust Heelers- Sunday 24th June @9.30am
The Heelers have a slight advantage as they wrap up their series against Kilsyth, playing one less game than their opponents this weekend but the travel time to the South-East suburbs of Melbourne may negate any edge heading into Saturday and Sunday.
Red Dust were the hottest team in the league coming into last weekend but were halted in their tracks by Queensland who handed them consecutive losses.
With a 3-0 series lead against their closest rivals on the ladder, Perth, and with five games still remaining in their season, they will be able to leapfrog the Wheelcats before the playoffs but wins over the Cobras will give them a chance to move into third place as well.
In the losses to the Spinning Bullets, Josh Turek and Brad Ness still owned the offensive end while Rob Pike contributed 10.5 points per game but they will be keen to improve their defensive structures as Queensland averaged 80 points.
70 may be the magic number for Red Dust to aim at as Kilsyth are 9-0 when they score beyond that mark but 1-3 when they don’t.
The size of duo Turek and Ness will make for a great battle in the paint against the likes of Brown and Knowles and Kilsyth will be looking to players like Brian Carminati and Josh Allison to help crash the glass and control the tempo of the contests.