McLeod to tinker with Hawks' systems

Hawks coach Gordie McLeod will continue to tinker with his team's offensive and defensive systems over the final eight games of the regular season.

The Hawks returned home yesterday afternoon after splitting their weekend road trip to Adelaide and Perth.

Fourth-placed Wollongong square off with fifth-placed Melbourne on Friday in a game which is likely to have a big bearing on the final two play-off positions.

New import Malcolm Grant starred in the win over Adelaide and McLeod expects the Brooklyn-born guard to play a key role in the Hawks' bid for a finals berth.

"The big thing we have to do is find what our new style of play is now, and we don't have a lot of time," McLeod said.

"We have to try and get Malcolm up to speed as quickly as possible with how we're playing. He's come to a new country and new culture, I'm sure he hasn't heard a coach with an accent like I've got and I'm sure our terminology is a lot different to what he's used to.

"With the hurdles in front of us, we're really going to have to accelerate that development over the next two to three weeks."

McLeod said the Hawks must keep working on ways to improve their inside scoring. He also wants to get Tyson Demos, Dan Jackson and Tim Coenraad more involved with the offence.

"Coenraad's a good shooter, Jacko can shoot the ball and Tyson needs to shoot the ball with confidence," McLeod said.

"We have to get those guys open looks and get them the ball."

The Hawks out-rebounded Adelaide in Friday night's eight-point win but were out of their depth against the Cats, losing the rebound count 40-27.

"Rebounding is something that's been an issue for us. We're trying to improve," McLeod said.

"We did a good job [on Friday] but [Perth] was a different beast, especially with the guards. Damian Martin with six offensive boards, Greg Hire had five. That's the thing that really kills you.

"It was tough, but that's what you expect from the Wildcats."

Perth coach Rob Beveridge reckons the real Wildcats stood up in the second half of Sunday's 80-52 rout of Wollongong.

The Wildcats were spanked by New Zealand on Friday and were under pressure when they fell behind by three at half-time against the Hawks.

But they responded in style, shutting down the visitors.

"True champions respond to losses," Beveridge said.

"We had our arses kicked in New Zealand. They were the better team. They completely out-played us.

"Tonight was about us trying to understand who we are again, because sometimes you lose focus on what works well for you.

"We wanted to wear Wollongong down. We had to play our style of game to get our guys to remember who we are. The Perth Wildcats are aggressive, they're relentless, they're committed to whatever they're doing and they play hard together.

"That was the statement we made to ourselves tonight. It wasn't for anybody but us."

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