Coenraad wary of backlash from Perth

BASKETBALL

Hawks forward Tim Coenraad expects the Cairns Taipans' shock defeat of Perth to have a flow-on effect when his side meets the league leaders in Wollongong tonight.

The Snakes stunned Perth 99-90 in a New Year's Eve upset that forced the Hawks to the bottom of the NBL ladder and left them facing a Wildcats side looking for redemption.

"Coming off a loss against Cairns I think they're going to be re-energised and refocused," Coenraad said.

"At the top sometimes you can get on a bit of a roll and it takes someone to give you a bit of a kick to wake you up.

"I think that's what's going to happen with Perth."

Coenraad faces the unenviable task of matching up against Wildcats livewire James Ennis, who's set the NBL alight this year, averaging 23 points and six rebounds per game.

"You've got to make it hard for him [Ennis]," Coenraad said.

"Watching him on tape he seems to do things so effortlessly and there's only been a few times when people have gotten up into him.

"You can't just sit there and let him hit the three-ball and you can't get right up on him because he'll rip and dunk on one of your teammates.

"You've just got to force him into that in-between game where he's shooting tough pull-up jump shots and not getting on the rim."

Coenraad was wary, however, of focusing too much on Ennis.

"If you focus too much on him [Shawn] Redhage will get going and [Jermaine] Beal will get going.

"If we just let those guys come in and do what they want to do then it's going to be a rough night."

Coenraad also called on the Hawks' "supporting cast" to take the pressure off star import Rotnei Clarke who, fresh from a season-high 37-point game, can expect some close attention.

"We haven't had a game in a while where it's been a nice spread [of points]," Coenraad said.

"Rotnei and Kevin [Tiggs] have been taking care of pretty much all the scoring and Perth know that.

"They know that Rotnei just came off an amazing game and hit nine threes so for this game a lot of it is going to fall on the shoulders of guys like [Dave] Gruber, Tyson [Demos], Oscar [Forman] and myself.

"We need to step up and make shots and make plays.

"If it's going to take Rotnei to score 37 points every game for us to be in it then we're not going to win many."

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