Hawks guard Adris Deleon admits feeling a weight of expectation since knee injuries to Lance Hurdle and Rhys Martin left him the only remaining back-court playmaker.
Deleon made a stunning start to the season in helping Wollongong to a then-outright competition leading 7-1 record.
However, mixed recent form was followed by Hurdle and Martin being hurt in the same game earlier this month, leaving Deleon as the team's sole focal point prior to the arrival of the Hawks latest US recruit Malcolm Grant.
"Since the beginning [of the season], I've had a different role here," he said.
"It was to be aggressive and bring energy from the bench, not it's kind of like you need to get the right people [in position], you need to get them open.
"Now it's not so much being aggressive, I have to be patient and be smart about everything, because as soon as I'm out of control, the whole team is out of control."
Still, Deleon showed he can thrive in the role of on-court general, nailing 34 points against New Zealand on Friday, but it was not enough as the Hawks lost 72-71.
The 28-year-old from the Dominican Republic via New York had a chance to possibly send the game into overtime with a free-throw with seven seconds remaining, but it wouldn't drop, allowing the Breakers to hold on.
"It was one of those days," he said.
"I was taking what the defence was giving me.
"That's what [coach] Gordie [McLeod] told me, play for your teammates, but if they give you something, take it."
As Melbourne and Townsville lead the charge to steal Wollongong's top four spot, after the Hawks lost eight of their past nine games, Deleon claimed it was time to make a stand against NBL powerhouse New Zealand on Saturday.
"This weekend we can show the league we haven't got out heads down like our season's over," he said.
"We may have injures and we don't got the best in the league, we're still playing with our system and we play it pretty well."
The Hawks have lost their previous two encounters with the Breakers by just one and two points.
"We've been shorthanded on guards, shorthanded on bigs, shorthanded on eveything," he said.
"We know it's not going to be easy, because [New Zealand are] going to adjust to some of the things we did [on Friday].
"We recognise the things we have to do and at the end of the day it's up to us to turn it around."