ROUND 8 PREVIEW
Preview the final round of the regular season with Perth and Queensland fighting for the fourth playoff position.
Sydney Metro Blues v Be Active Perth Wheelcats- Friday 4th August @5pm
Sydney Metro Blues v Be Active Perth Wheelcats- Saturday 5th August @2pm
Sydney Metro Blues v Be Active Perth Wheelcats- Sunday 6th August @11am
It all comes down to this weekend for the Wheelcats as they look to recover a top-four position and defend their 2016 silver medal.
Currently sitting fifth on the ladder but equal on points with the Spinning Bullets, Perth need to hope Queensland drop at least one game in Round 8 and claim a win themselves to jump above them on the ladder but defeating Sydney Metro even once this weekend will not be an easy task.
The Blues are placed third and still have a slim chance of grabbing second away from Kilsyth while one victory will ensure at least third place.
Their leading scorer in Joe Chambers provides a great foil for Shaun Norris at the offensive end with those two set to go head-to-head on the scoreboard.
Norris’ 11.2 assists per game is a concern for the home side while the Roller will be aiming to maintain his incredible triple-double average but the Blues will back themselves to have enough firepower throughout their roster thanks to CJ McCarthy-Grogan, John McPhail and Darren Skuse.
The Wheelcats will need to find other options to goal through the likes of Andrew Dewberry and Amber Merritt who claimed the Top Scorer award in the WNWBL last weekend although Sydney Metro have their own WNWBL All-Star in Georgia Munro-Cook to help counter the visitor’s depth.
Kilsyth Cobras v Red Dust Heelers- Friday 4th August @7pm
Kilsyth Cobras v Red Dust Heelers- Saturday 5th August @4pm
Kilsyth Cobras v Red Dust Heelers- Sunday 6th August @12pm
Just one win for the Cobras this weekend will cement their top-two placing although first place is out of reach despite the Rollerhawks not playing in Round 8.
Red Dust continue to fight hard in the absence of captain Brad Ness, coming within three and 11 points of the Spinning Bullets in two meetings last weekend but they have now dropped nine consecutive games.
Three starters averaged double-figures in scoring against Queensland last round while Rob Pike collected a double-double for the weekend. They will need another efficient performance from him and Ryan Morich to out-gun Tristan Knowles who sits third in the league with 26.8 points per game.
Adam Deans is in fine form for the Heelers, averaging 13.5 points, 10.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists over his past four contests and his presence in the paint will play a huge role with Kilsyth’s rebounding arguably the most vulnerable part of their game.
However, with Shawn Russell, Shaun Groenewegen and Daniel Del Toso (who has scored in double-figures in his last three games) backing up Knowles, Kilsyth should prove too strong though and enter the playoffs on a winning streak.
Adelaide Thunder v Qld Spinning Bullets- Saturday 5th August @12.30pm
Adelaide Thunder v Qld Spinning Bullets- Saturday 5th August @7pm
Adelaide Thunder v Qld Spinning Bullets- Sunday 6th August @11am
Coming up against the winless Thunder, all the pressure is on the Spinning Bullets to get the job done this weekend and reach the playoffs for the second time in the past three years.
They will be keeping an eye on the Wheelcats’ results as their form will affect Queensland’s standings but the Spinning Bullets can remove any doubt of their position with a sweep of Adelaide this weekend.
Two wins could also be enough to not only stay in front of Perth but also move above Sydney Metro as they own the head-to-head advantage against the Blues should they finish on the same amount of points.
The Thunder will be desperate to get on the winners list before the season is out though and will be keen to do so in front of their home fans who have enjoyed their return to the league in 2017.
Tom O’Neill-Thorne looms as the player standing in their way as he is averaging 22.2 points and 9.7 rebounds while his 7.1 assists is more than Adelaide’s three leading assist-men combined.
Beau Buckley and Adam Roocke will need to be at their best offensively to match him while that duo will also need help in the paint from Jay Dohnt and Phillip Stephens to hold off Jake Fulwood who will be determined to help return the Spinning Bullets back to the post-season.