Larry's back: Hawks lifted by shock return

BASKETBALL 

Injured Hawk Larry Davidson is on the verge of making a shock early return for Wollongong's important home game against Cairns on Friday.

The Hawks have struggled with rebounding without Davidson's 209-centimetre frame in recent weeks, tallying just one win from seven games and sliding to fourth on the NBL ladder.

Numbers tell the full story, with Wollongong being stripped 283-188 in the rebound battle over their past seven appearances.

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Hawks coach Gordie McLeod said Davidson's possible return from a rib injury would help to overcome inadequacies at the boards.

"It all depends on whether Larry gets through the practice (today) and how he pulls up," McLeod said.

"Larry hasn't really done any contact stuff for quite some time so a lot will depend on whether he can get through this week's practice and how he pulls up.

"Larry returning would certainly help with rebounding but it's not down to one person. We're not an overly big side and we're not an overly physical side, so that's just something we have to continually work on."

In addition to Davidson's return, forward Tim Coenraad is also set to back up from Saturday's 78-76 loss to New Zealand, his first game of the season after a troublesome plantar fascia injury.

"Both Larry and Tim are trying to load up now to be ready for game time," McLeod said. "If they get through the week, hopefully Larry will play some minutes for us, as will Timmy."

Similarly to the Hawks, Cairns have struggled with consistency this season, and will carry a pedestrian 4-10 record into the clash.

Despite their place inside the top four, McLeod said the Hawks needed to make amends for their poor run of form, which came of the back of a 6-0 start to the season.

"We've got to work on a few things tactically that we need to improve," McLeod said.

"Cairns' versatility is our main obstacle. They've added some really strong shooting and we know what some of their guys can do.

"They're a bit like ourselves - they're thereabouts but they haven't been able to get over the line.

"We've had three very good contests with them so far and the results could have gone either way in all of those.

"The more consistent team and the one that wins the effort areas of the game is the one that's going to come away with the victory."

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