Captain Oscar Forman is ready to turn the spotlight’s full glare on himself on Friday night as the Hawks try to fill the void left by Larry Davidson.
After losing to the Wildcats in Perth, Forman has vowed the Hawks will produce an improved rebounding effort in the rematch at WIN Entertainment Centre.
Wollongong fans don’t have to look too far down the statistics sheet to find key reasons for the team’s recent defeats at the hands of the Cats and Cairns Taipans.
In both games they’ve had 18 fewer rebounds.
With Davidson literally floored by a broken rib in Perth, it’s up to Forman and Dave Gruber to lead the way.
‘‘It will mean more minutes for Gruber and more responsibility for us,’’ Forman said.
‘‘We’ll also look more to Auryn [Macmillan] and Jacko [Dan Jackson], but it’s important for us to step up, especially with Larry out, because he’s the controller of our defence.
‘‘The key will be finding that harmony between being aggressive and staying in the game without getting too many fouls.
‘‘We’ve been smashed on the rebounds the past couple of weeks, we’ve given up way too many offensive rebounds and been forced to chase teams.
‘‘That’s where the responsibility falls on Dave and myself.’’
Wollongong trailed by as many as 16 against Perth, before clawing their way back to lead just before three-quarter time, only to let it slip again, eventually losing 80-68.
Still, Forman is taking heart from the performance.
‘‘We were struggling, the game could have gone south very quickly,’’ he said.
‘‘But we put the pressure on them and you saw them tighten up once we made a few big shots.’’
Forman maintained the Hawks had to show the pressure Adelaide placed on Perth on Sunday, which saw them create an 11-point lead to the final change, only to watch the Wildcats force extra time and win.
‘‘We need to come out and take the game to them,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s on our court and it’s going to be a very different situation to them playing at home on Friday.’’
Forman was unconcerned about the retirement of Wildcats co-captain Brad Robbins, announced yesterday, firing Perth up.
‘‘They might try and feed off that, but they’re travelling well in the league anyway,’’ he said.
‘‘We need to smother any motivation they have.’’