Hawks coach Rob Beveridge believes Tim Coenraad is starting to get ‘his swagger back’ as the forward prepares to be thrust into the starting line-up to replace suspended star Demitrius Conger.
Conger will serve his one match ban after he was deemed to make intentional high contact ‘above the shoulders and medium impact’ with Sydney’s Brad Newley last month.
It rules him out of Monday’s showdown with Melbourne United at Hisense Arena.
Beveridge confirmed Coenraad would take the talented American’s spot in the starting line-up.
He was confident his veteran sharpshooter would comfortably make the switch into the first unit.
“He’s a microwave for us,” Beveridge said.
“Timmy’s had a litte bit of trouble getting his mojo back and he’s just not been making shots. He’s taking a lot of good shots and last season most of them were going down.
“At the back end of the season he was one of our most consistent performers and he was outstanding in the finals.
“He was fantastic in the preseason and then picked up an injury. He hasn’t fully recovered since then but you can see the last couple of games he’s getting his swagger back.
“With [Conger] out he’ll play a lot of minutes and he’s going to have a responsibility on [Casey] Prather as well but, at the end of the day, the guy’s a veteran. He’s played a lot of games in the league and with that I expect him to step up.”
Coenraad has averaged just 13 minutes per game through the first 11 matches but will likely see a big jump in minutes against United, with forward Oscar Forman also only rated a 50-50 chance to play. Despite the increased role in the match, Coenraad plans to stick to his guns.
"I am trying not to change too much because if you start trying to change things just because you are in the starting line up, it will be at the detriment of the team," he said.
"I am just going to keep doing what I am doing, whether that's starting or on the bench.
"That's being aggressive on offence. As long as I am aggressive and there is no confusion on our system. I know exactly what I am doing. It gives me the opportunity to work as hard as I can.
"Coming in we will have a really good game plan and when there is no confusion on that, we are a really good team. I am looking forward to the challenge, especially against Melbourne because they are extremely talented.”
Coenraad admitted Conger would be a big loss for the Hawks and insisted Illawarra would have to fill the hole left by the star import as a group.
“Meech is one of the most exciting players that I think we have had at the Hawks, so with him sitting this one out hurts us a bit but other guys will get opportunities,” he said.
"It doesn't necessarily have to be me. Kev White will probably see more minutes. We will share the load.”