Team Preview: Wollongong Rollerhawks
After back to back championships is a three-peat on the cards for the Wollongong Rollerhawks?
Wollongong’s strength in 2011 was the ability to run their three four pointers; Tristan Knowles, Brett Stibners and Shawn Russell. In 2012 Wollongong had their doubters, but with no Knowles it was no worries for the Rollerhawks with their 4.0-4.0-2.5-2.0-1.5 combination proving almost unbeatable when it counted.
In 2013 the Rollerhawks are largely unchanged and why not? They’ll lose Grant Mizens from their 2012 championship team, but gain Brendan Dowler in a player-coach role that will allow the Rollerhawks to run bigger combinations.
Young 3.5 Brad Fisher will be the future of this Wollongong team and we’ll see his court time increase this year. Fisher sits tall and is a danger in and outside of the key way with good range and has plenty experience around him to help take his game to the next level.
With Luke Pople and Nick Taylor both in the Rollerhawks line-up Tim Markcrow has struggled for court time in the past, but what an opportunity to learn from two of the best. Like Fisher, Markcrow will likely see his opportunities on court increase this year.
Defensively Wollongong is sound and offensively their strength has always been being able to stretch opposition defences with five scoring threats on the floor. Shawn Russell looks set to miss round one against Perth which might mean a slow start to the season for the Rollerhawks but you’d still expect them to be a major player in 2013. Hopefully for coach Dowler and the Rollerhawks we’ll see Russell back in the Wollongong line-up for the cluster round in Brisbane.
Everyone in the league would love to see Tristan Knowles back in Wollongong colours but this will unfortunately not be the case again in 2013. However Wollongong is not a one-player team and despite being Knowles-less there is a good reason why the Charles Ryan Trophy has found its home in Wollongong for the past two years. This is a quality outfit with the ability to beat every team in the league and come season end; they could very well be hoisting ‘Chuck’ in the air for the third year in a row.
2013 Wollongong Rollerhawks:
5. Darren Hayes (1.0)
6. Anthea Castelli (1.0)
7. Colin Smith (1.5)
8. Tim Markcrow (2.0)
9. Brendon Dowler (1.0)
10. Bradley Fisher (3.5)
11. Brett Stibners (4.0)
12. Andrew Tarrant (4.5)
13. Luke Pople (2.5)
14. Nick Taylor (2.0)
15. Shawn Russell (4.0)
22. Daniel Begman (4.5)
55. Eino Okkonen (4.0)
Head Coach: Brendan DowlerA
Team Manager: Pablo Jimenez
Mechanic: Hector Bonilla
Physiotherapist: Ashley Sproule