Hawks keep eye on prize as Tragardh ruled out

BASKETBALL

Hawks defensive linchpin Larry Davidson isn't planning on underestimating a Cairns Taipans team without leading scorer Cameron Tragardh when the sides meet on Saturday.

Averaging 13.7 points a game, the man affectionately known as "Trigger" went down with an sprained ankle on New Year's Eve in the Taipans' 99-90 win over the Perth Wildcats and is set to spend the rest of January off the hardwood.

But Davidson insists that while the loss will leave a hole in Cairns' offence, the Taipans line-up remains packed with high calibre big-men.

"He is probably the best low post scorer in the game so that will take away somewhat of an aspect of their game, but they are pretty stacked," Davidson said.

"I have always said this year that they are a really deep team. So while it will hurt not having him, it will also open it up for some of their other guys who maybe haven't been getting the minutes that can definitely play."

Cairns will head into Saturday's clash on the back of a loss to the red-hot Melbourne Tigers, but remain in the top four courtesy of four wins in their past six matches.

But the Hawks remain hot on their heels and victory on Saturday will put them on the verge of the top four.

"It would be big [to win]. The feeling after beating Perth was pretty euphoric, but if we could back it up and get another good win over Cairns I don't think anyone will be sleeping after the game," Davidson said.

"Any time you win up there it's a pretty good feeling. They have been in some pretty good form and the first win when we got up there was huge."

Wollongong edged Cairns 75-73 in their opening encounter and head into the rematch buzzing from last week's memorable overtime win over Perth.

Nevertheless, Davidson was adamant now is not the time to become complacent.

"We did a lot of good things in the Perth game but we have to make sure we see the stuff that we can work on and not get too carried away with it," Davidson said.

"It is not like we are sitting up there in the top four and we can take it easy.

"Obviously if we can get this one on Cairns and then we play them twice more at home, you never know what is going to happen at the end of the year when you are battling for a top four spot.

"We can't take our eyes off it and make sure we come into this game with the same focus that we had for the Perth game."

If the Hawks keep the focus, Davidson was confident the topsy-turvy campaign would remain on a high.

"Even though we probably haven't got the results we wanted this season, we are still right there with a chance," Davidson said.

"We just have to make sure that now we learn from the games that we have lost. If you keep losing games now you are going to lose touch with the top four.

"It is definitely a case now where we can learn from everything we have done ... and get a bit of a run on towards the top four."

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