Hawks say it's time to get physical

BASKETBALL

Maybe it's come too late to save their season, but the Wollongong Hawks say they are through being bullied in the rebounding department.

The Hawks have frequently been outmuscled and out-hustled under the glass, a weakness which has often been the difference between winning and losing.

It was the same old story in last Friday's 80-67 road loss to Townsville, with the Crocodiles pulling down 33 rebounds to the Hawks' 27.

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Forward Tim Coenraad believes it's time for the Hawks to be the aggressor in the battle for the boards.

"We have to take care of the rebounds," Coenraad said.

"It's been an issue for us all year and it's time we did something about it. We need to man up and hit some people when we're coming to the glass.

"That's what other teams are doing to us. We need to take on the challenge, myself included. I'm one of the bigger guys and I need to grab more rebounds than getting three or four. It's a challenge for all of us."

With nine games remaining, Wollongong (6-13) are seventh.

They host second-placed Adelaide (13-6) on Sunday and must win to keep their slim finals hopes alive.

"We're coming up against one of the best teams in the league and they're playing good basketball," Coenraad said. "They've got a lot of young talent and athletes who run the floor, so we're going to have to be on our toes, because we're not exactly the most athletic team in the world.

"The key for this game is to really control the tempo and limit their transition buckets.

"We probably don't run as well as they do, but we want to run, and when we get the opportunity we're pretty effective."

The 36ers beat the Hawks by six in round two and by one in round eight, both times in Adelaide.

"We've played two at their place and played them tough," he said. "It's definitely a game we think we can win."

Hawks keep their focus

He knows it’s the most used cliche in the entire sporting world, but Wollongong forward Tim Coenraad insists the Hawks have to approach their final nine games with a one-track mind.

‘‘It’s an old saying but it’s a good saying – we have to take one game at a time,’’ he said.

Given that they have won just six of 19 games, the Hawks are a long shot to claim a top-four finish.

But Coenraad believes a win over Adelaide on Sunday at WIN Entertainment Centre will provide a solid launching pad for a last-ditch run at the play-offs.

‘‘We need to get that one win and hopefully it snowballs and we start stringing some wins together, but it all comes down to this weekend,’’ the 27-year-old said.

‘‘It’s just a matter of us finishing off games. We’re in the hunt for pretty much the whole game, but in the end it just starts to break away from us.

‘‘You can’t question our work ethic at practice, but sometimes we’re not the smartest team.

‘‘Adelaide are a team that wants to get up and down and get shots up, so we have to control the tempo. 

‘‘If we can take care of the rebounding and keep a lid on their transition game, we’ll definitely be in with a chance to win,’’ he said.

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