Hawks make call to arms for home support

BASKETBALL

Wollongong's final six home games of the regular season are critical in more ways than one.

While the Hawks go about their business of trying to stay in finals contention, the management will be keeping a very concerned eye on crowd figures.

Attendance at home games has steadily dwindled since the start of the season - a crowd of just 1836 turned up for the Australia Day clash with Melbourne - and isn't about to improve unless the Hawks start stringing wins together.

That they have won just three of eight home games hasn't helped. Part-time or fringe fans won't regularly fork out for tickets when there is a good chance they will go home disappointed.

The Hawks are away to Townsville on Friday night before hosting Adelaide on February 9, in the first of five home games in five weeks.

"It's a massive difference when you get this place rocking," Hawks forward Dave Gruber said of WIN Entertainment Centre.

"Especially for a guy like me, because I'm an energy guy. It gets you going.

"We have a lot of home games in February and hopefully the fans will come support us over the run to the end of the season because it's going to be big for us."

If crowd numbers continue to drop, those Hawks fans calling for a return to the Snakepit will only get louder.

The Hawks and the Illawarra Basketball Association would have to extend and renovate the Snakepit's existing layout at Beaton Park. But it might not be a bad move in the long run.

A smaller, intimate venue built for about 2400 spectators might be a perfect fit for the Hawks. And it would eliminate the costs incurred for 14 home games a season at WIN Entertainment Centre.

And any time the Hawks are in the playoffs, those games that draw bigger crowds could be switched to WIN Entertainment Centre.

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