Hawks out to end Breakers hoodoo

BASKETBALL

They haven't beaten the New Zealand Breakers in three attempts this season, but the Wollongong Hawks can't wait to take on the reigning champions on Friday night at WIN Entertainment Centre.

The Breakers (9-12) would be justified in thinking they have Wollongong's measure after winning the three games by an average of 10.7 points.

But the surging Hawks (9-13) have won their past three games against Adelaide, Townsville and Sydney by an average of 18.3 points.

They will be armed with an extra incentive on Friday, knowing a win will push them into fifth spot at New Zealand's expense.

"We set ourselves a goal to beat every team in the comp, and we haven't been able to beat New Zealand," Wollongong coach Gordie McLeod said.

"For us, that's our semi. That's all we'll worry about. The guys are loose and enjoying their basketball, and they're playing with confidence.

"We're understanding our roles better and playing better as a group. We're disrupting teams with our defence and we've been doing a lot better job of rebounding and looking after the ball."

Most pundits discarded the Hawks as top-four contenders after they lost to Townsville by 13 on January 31.

They responded with three consecutive wins, including weekend defeats of Townsville (home) and Sydney (away) in the space of 24 hours.

McLeod paid tribute to the club's hard-working medical staff.

"There's a bunch of people in the back that no-one ever sees and they played a huge part in us being able to back up, and we really appreciate what they do," he said after Saturday's 102-84 road win over Sydney.

"Our club works so hard to hang around and be in it, and it wasn't only us backing up tonight. The fans up there in the stands in red, they were backing up, too. They've had a big one as well."

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