Clarke expects to be right for Hawks-Kings rematch

BASKETBALL

Wollongong leading scorer Rotnei Clarke threw a scare into the Hawks camp when injury prevented him from training yesterday.

Clarke, third in the NBL in scoring with 20.8 points per game, copped a knock to his calf in Saturday's 73-69 home win over Sydney.

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The 24-year-old guard was restricted to manning the scorebench at training but expects to be pain-free for this weekend's rematch with the Kings in Sydney.

"I've never had a cork in my calf, but it's pretty swollen right now," Clarke said after the two-hour session.

"At the end of the game, [Sydney's] Sam Young tried to get a steal and I don't know if he kneed me or kicked me or what happened, but I definitely felt it right away.

"It's not serious, I'll be fine. We have a day off [today] so I'll rest it and get some ice on it and it should be fine by Wednesday."

Clarke paced Wollongong with a game-high 27 points against the Kings.

"It was good, being in a rivalry game and in front of our home crowd, and we gutted it out," he said.

"We had a slow start but once we got going we finished strong at the end."

Clarke modestly attributed his recent good form to his teammates.

"They've done a great job, because a lot of those shots I make come off Grubes [Dave Gruber] and Laz [Larry Davidson] and those guys freeing me up and getting me open," he said.

"It's just about picking your spots, because Sydney were guarding me pretty tough, but that opens up other guys as well, as long as I get rid of it in time and don't turn it over."

The Hawks (3-7) are still equal-last with Cairns and know they will be in for war in the return clash with Sydney.

"They fought us tough, we fought tough, and it was a great game," Clarke said.

"We knew it was going to be a big challenge and it's going to be an even bigger task and bigger challenge going to Sydney and playing in front of their fans. Hopefully we can execute and do what we did in the last game.

"Both teams will make some adjustments. They'll go back and look at the film like we have. We'll tweak some things and hopefully it will help us out going into the next game."

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