Men's Previews - Round 5

Eastern Mavericks (0-3, 10th) v Norwood Flames (2-1, 4th)
Sunday April 29, 3.00pm at Adelaide Hills

The Eastern Mavericks will be on their home floor for their second straight day when they take on the Norwood Flames on Sunday.

It will be the fourth time already the Mavs have played at Adelaide Hills this season, having succumbed to Forestville and North in Rounds 1 and 3, and then hosting Southern in the first of their double-header this weekend. Statistically, Stuart Breheny has been the Mavs’ best player so far this season, averaging 15 ppg and 5.3 rpg, while Daniel Lean is leading the team in assists, registering 17 over the opening three weeks.

Shane Breheny has not played since Round 1, where he had 15 points and 12 rebounds.

The Flames will be away from Mars for just the second time this season. They have won their two home games thus far, including a stunning comeback against Southern, but lost their only away game 60-105 to North.

Andrew Webber is yet to play for the Flames this season, after averaging 15.8 ppg, 4 rpg and 4 apg last season. Keith Krause, who is playing a bigger role than in the last two seasons, is leading the team in scoring with 16.5 ppg. Todd Matthews, a member of last year’s Central ABL All Star Five, is averaging 15.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg and 4.7 apg.

The Flames won both head-to-head battles last season, including an 89-81 triumph at Adelaide Hills. In fact, the Mavs have not beaten the Flames since May 20, 2006, when they succeeded 98-87 at Mars. The Mavs’ last home win over the Flames was March 5, 2005.

The Mavs will go in as underdogs, but are definitely a chance of an upset against a Flames side which has struggled to put together any consistency.

South Adelaide Panthers (1-2, 9th) v Forestville Eagles (2-2, 5th)
Sunday April 29, 3.00pm at Marion

The South Adelaide Panthers will complete their double-header against last year’s Grand Finalists when they host the Forestville Eagles on Sunday.

The Panthers will be backing up after visiting Norwood, while the Eagles will have had three days rest, following a thrilling ANZAC Day loss to West Adelaide. The Eagles, who were without the injured Rashad Tucker (knee) and Majok Deng (ankle), led by as many as 12 in the second quarter and were up for most of the game, but ultimately their slim rotation wore them down.

Adam Doyle had a chance to win the game for the Eagles, but his layup was blocked with 0.6 seconds remaining, following a well-executed sideline play. The Eagles were unable to get a shot up thereafter.

Trent Fildes made the most of his increased playing time, finishing with season-highs of 22 points and 14 rebounds. Brad Haydon and Brad Sullivan each scored 18, while Doyle had 13 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists.

The Eagles have plenty of options offensively, even without Tucker and Deng. However, that duo’s size and athleticism will be sorely missed defensively and on the boards. The Panthers are averaging 82 points per game, so a high scoring game could be on the cards.

A range of players have been getting the job done for the Panthers, one of which is former Eagle Jordan Robertson, who is averaging career best numbers in points (12.3), rebounds (6.7), assists (1.3), and field goal percentage (48.3). Damian Scanlon is one who can light it up from anywhere. Scanlon has career averages of 22.3 ppg and 4.8 rpg, and scored 37 points in the Panthers’ only home game so far this season.

The Eagles have been a bogey team for the Panthers. The Panthers have not beaten the Eagles since 2007, when they swept the season series.

If there was ever a chance of the Panthers breaking their hoodoo, this Sunday presents the perfect opportunity.

Sturt Sabres (1-2, 8th) v Southern Tigers (1-2, 7th)
Saturday April 29, 3.00pm at Pasadena

Following away games against different degrees of opposition on Saturday, the Sturt Sabres and Southern Tigers will meet at Pasadena less than 24 hours later.

Although these ball-clubs have identical 1-2 records, the Tigers have made the more impressive start. They came agonisingly close to knocking off Norwood in Round 3, after beating South in Round 2 and losing to North in Round 1. Meanwhile, the Sabres have been on either side of a big comeback on their home court, while losing away to Forestville in between.

After scoring just 10 points in his debut, Tigers import Tyler Tanis has scored 67 in his past two matches. He is the player the Sabres need to limit. Michael Florance, Codey Ellison and Tim Smyth have been effective and efficient offensively in their opening three games.

The Sabres have been relying heavily on Point Guard Tom Daly for offensive production. Overall, Daly is averaging 22.7 ppg, 8rpg and 5.7 apg. Tim Klaosen has stepped up this season, averaging career highs in points (14.7 per game) and assists (3.0 per game). Star shooter Darren Ng has suited up just once this season, where he scored 9 points.

The Sabres took the honours against the Tigers on both occasions in 2011, including an 88-59 victory at Pasadena in the final game of the regular season. The Tigers did, however, beat the Sabres in their own building the previous year.

Expect a tight contest in this one. Home court advantage may just see the Sabres home.

West Adelaide Bearcats (3-1, 2nd) v Central District Lions (1-2, 6th)
Sunday April 29, 3.00pm at Port Adelaide

In the Match of the Round, the West Adelaide Bearcats will be looking to build on their victory over last year’s premiers Forestville when they welcome the Central District Lions to Port Adelaide in Round 5.

The Bearcats prevailed in arguably the game of the season, defeating the Eagles at Wayville 79-78. Junior Salters was the hero, making two huge jump shots late in the game, and completing the game-saving block. He finished with 13 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.

Blake Truslove was a monster all game, taking advantage of his undersized opposition in posting 24 points on 10/14 shooting and 19 rebounds. His only blemish was a missed dunk with 15 seconds left that would have put his team up three. Paul Rankin was efficient off the bench with 11 points on 5/6 shooting, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.

As a team, the Bearcats shot 45 per cent from the field and outrebounded Forestville 52-33. They also converted on a season-high 63 per cent of their free throw attempts, as they improved their record to 3-1.

Salters will go head-to-head in an elite import battle with the Lions’ Kyle Miller. Miller has averaged 27 ppg on 47 per cent shooting, 7.7 rebounds and 5 assists over his first three CABL starts. Luke Frost (10.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg), Lachlan Parker (10 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and Kyle Williams (8.7 ppg, 48% FG) are others the Bearcats will need to watch closely.

This will be the Lions’ second game in as many days, with a home game against Woodville the previous night. The Lions currently have the third best percentage in the league, but only one win to show for their efforts. The Lions beat the Bearcats 73-70 in their last meeting, however, the Bearcats won 79-71 at Port Adelaide.

Truslove’s strong form and home court advantage should be enough to see the Bearcats through.

By James Woite


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