Saville hungry for Abercrombie test

BASKETBALL

The old bull locks horns with the young bull tonight at WIN Entertainment Centre.

Two-time Olympian Glen Saville is in his 19th season with Wollongong and unlikely to be back for a 20th campaign in 2013-14.

But, as he approaches his 37th birthday, the boy from Bendigo still gets excited about squaring off with younger versions of himself.

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Of all Saville's adversaries, athletic New Zealand Breakers forward Tom Abercrombie presents his toughest test.

Despite being 11 years older than Abercrombie, Saville is keen to prove there is "life in the old dog".

"Without a doubt, you want to show you can still hold your own against the younger guys. You don't want to get walked over by them," the father-of-two said.

Saville said he doesn't have a friendly rapport with Abercrombie but respects his talent.

"I would've liked his athleticism," he said.

"A lot of players who are dunkers traditionally don't have a well-established perimeter game, but he can shoot the three and put the ball on the floor.

"Not only can he finish on the rim, his mid-range game is improving all the time.

"It's a challenge for me because I've forgotten what it's like to have athleticism like that. If I got up that high I wouldn't know how to come down and land properly.

"Those guys who have a quicker step and can put the ball on the floor and create their own shot, you take that as a challenge to try and guard them."

After starting the season with six straight wins, third-placed Wollongong have won two of their past seven games.

The league-leading Breakers opened the season with a thrashing from Perth but have since won 11 of 13 to be well positioned for a third consecutive title.

Saville scoffed at suggestions the injury-hit Hawks might be scared about taking on New Zealand.

"We should be seeing that as a challenge and look forward to playing them," he said. "They're coming to our home court where we've had a pretty good year. We've lost one game here and we get great support from our crowd, and we know our fans are going to turn up and get behind us against the best team in the competition."

The Hawks are hoping to have forward Tim Coenraad on board for his first game of the season, though Larry Davidson (rib injury) and Dan Jackson (calf) are out.

Wollongong have lost their past two games in overtime to Sydney and Melbourne.

"There was sections against the Tigers where we went four or five possessions and couldn't get a score, and that's what happens sometimes when you're playing from the perimeter a bit too much," Saville said.

"Games that come down to the wire, you really need to know where your shots are coming from, you need to know how to find ways of scoring.

"Putting the ball inside creates opportunities to get to the foul-line and gets them in foul trouble.

"I don't put it down to injuries. In those two games we had chances to win, even with the injuries.

"Every team's going to go through it. That's just the way it is. It's part of professional sport.

"We just have to deal with it and move on, and not make excuses for it."

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