Vengeful Cairns, injuries make Gordie nervy

BASKETBALL

His team had Cairns' measure in two previous meetings but Wollongong coach Gordie McLeod remains wary of the Taipans before tomorrow's rematch at WIN Entertainment Centre.

Last week the Hawks came from behind to conquer the Taipans for the second time this season.

But the combined winning margin from those games was just five points.

McLeod rates Cairns as one of the league's strongest and deepest sides and believes the Hawks will have to be even better than they were last week.

"The challenge for us is their mobility, because they've got all the bases covered," he said.

"They're a good perimeter team, their bigs can stretch the floor, their guards can get to the rim, and they've got good depth.

"They'll be another week ready of playing without Trigger [injured forward Cam Tragardh] and they'll be better for that."

Missing from the Hawks for the first time this season will be starting two-guard Tyson Demos, who is battling the effects of a leg infection in hospital.

McLeod also has injury concerns over imports Kevin Tiggs and Rotnei Clarke and restricted the pair to light duties for most of the week.

Rhys Martin is the likely candidate to take Demos' spot, though McLeod might opt to elevate the versatile Tiggs into the starting five.

"We just have to change things up a little bit and we're weighing those things up," he said.

"It's really frustrating for Tyson because it hasn't responded the way we hoped it would.

"Rotnei's had a bit of an issue and Kevin's had a bit of an issue, and one of our development players as well.

"We're wanting to try and practise with our different combinations, but we just haven't been able to do it so far this week."

Clarke, the league's third-leading scorer (21.5 points per game), didn't train yesterday but is expected to play.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop