THE Wollongong Hawks' season is on the line this weekend.
After losing 10 of their past 12 games, Wollongong are effectively in a make or break situation against New Zealand (tonight) and Townsville (Sunday).
If they win at least four of their final seven games, the Hawks are a good chance of snatching a finals invitation.
By the same token, four losses would keep them out of the playoffs for the third straight season. It's not an ideal scenario but no-one at the club is panicking.
"[Coach] Gordie [McLeod] does a good job of keeping us level-headed," guard Tyson Demos said. "If we've won a few games in a row he keeps us low, and if we've lost a few games in a row he keeps us high. It's something he does well and the veteran guys also do a good job of that."
The Hawks would be in third spot if they hadn't lost 77-70 to Melbourne last week.
"It was pretty frustrating to lose to them again, but we had a sit-down and watched video and spoke about the game, and we're not too far off," Demos said.
"They shot the ball well and hit big shots when they had to, and we obviously missed shots when we needed to hit them."
The Hawks square off with the Breakers in Auckland tonight before returning tomorrow to prepare for the crucial home game against Townsville.
While the Hawks desperately cling to hope, New Zealand are almost unstopped this season, with 19 victories from 22 games.
But Wollongong have tested New Zealand this year, falling by just two and one, before losing by 17 on Australia Day after trailing by two points at three-quarter time.
Centre Larry Davidson is adamant the Hawks cannot afford any mental lapses tonight. "Probably the toughest thing is that they don't let up," he said. "So teams will press for half a quarter of a quarter, but they do it for a whole game."
Tip-off is at 5.30pm (AEDT), live on the NBL TV website.