ROUND 5 PREVIEW
Preview Round 5 with Kilsyth Cobras, Adelaide Thunder and Red Dust Heelers hosting games this weekend.
Kilsyth Cobras v Queensland Spinning Bullets- Friday 30th June @7pm
Kilsyth Cobras v Queensland Spinning Bullets- Saturday 1st July @4pm
Kilsyth Cobras v Queensland Spinning Bullets- Sunday 2nd July @10am
Kilsyth and Queensland face an important three contests this weekend with both teams having the opportunity to secure a top-four place.
The Cobras took advantage of a triple-header against Adelaide last round, moving to a 7-1 record and second place on the ladder as they aim for a three-peat in 2017.
With Tristan Knowles, Shawn Russell and Daniel Del Toso all averaging double-figure scoring, Kilsyth now have the most efficient offence in the league with more than 80 points per game.
That is 19 points above what the Bullets are averaging after they dropped all three games against Wollongong last round.
Tom O’Neill-Thorne is a serious threat for the home side though, averaging 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and six assists while Jordan Bartley and Matt McShane also contribute more than three assists per contest.
If they can limit their turnovers, that ability to share the ball could give the Cobras a few headaches while O’Neill-Thorne will need to match Knowles on the scoreboard with the four-time Paralympian sitting second in the competition for scoring (26.4).
However, Kilsyth have not lost since mid-May back in Round 1 and they look in ominous form as they prepare for another playoff run.
Red Dust Heelers v Sydney Metro Blues- Saturday 1st July @4pm
Red Dust Heelers v Sydney Metro Blues- Sunday 2nd July @10am
Coming off the bye in Round 4, Sydney Metro will be well rested as they look to hold off Red Dust in fourth place on the ladder.
The Heelers require two wins to move equal on points but they will need to recover from a five-game losing streak that included three losses to Perth last weekend.
In the absence of Brad Ness, Adam Deans is holding down the paint with an average of 11.5 points and 8.8 rebounds while Ryan Morich and Jannik Blair are each adding over eight points per game.
They will need to be at their best offensively this weekend though with the Blues coming off two games in which they cracked the century against Adelaide, thanks mainly to Joseph Chambers who averaged a ridiculous 44.5 points in just 24.5 minutes.
CJ McCarthy-Grogan has also been an integral part of their success alongside Darren Skuse who sits fourth in the league for rebounding and John McPhail who sits fifth for assists.
McPhail recorded ten dimes when they met Red Dust in Round 1, helping them to a 19-point victory although Deans did his best to hold them off with a near triple-double of ten points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.
Adelaide Thunder v Wollongong Rollerhawks- Saturday 1st July @4.30pm
Adelaide Thunder v Wollongong Rollerhawks- Sunday 2nd July @11am
In a bottom vs. top clash, Adelaide will have their backs against the wall as they look to halt the momentum of the Rollerhawks.
Wollongong have played the equal-most games of any team but they know with a bye coming in the last round of the regular season, they need to keep as much of a buffer over their closest rivals as they can.
A six-game winning streak has certainly helped that cause and they now own a 10-1 record with four players averaging over 12 points per game.
That is in comparison to the Thunder who only have Adam Roocke averaging 12+ points but their work at the defensive end may be a bigger concern as they give up 76.6 points, the worst mark in the competition, compared to Wollongong who own the second most productive offence.
When they met in Round 1, Wollongong won by 42 points as they out-scored the Thunder 40-14 in the paint.
While Brett Stibners leads them with 21.4 points per contest, the work of Nick Taylor has been just as important to the Rollerhawks form as he is combining a career-high 8.4 assists (third in the league) with 12.5 points and he was one of four starters to hit double-figures in their last clash.