Joyce keeps fire in check

Gold Coast Blaze coach Brendan Joyce won't let emotion stand in the way of business when he confronts his former team on Friday night at WIN Entertainment Centre.Joyce coached the Wollongong Hawks for 12 years before being controversially fired two days after Christmas in 2006.After landing on his feet a month later as coach of newcomers Gold Coast, he feared he would be overcome with emotion when the Blaze took on the Hawks at the WEC last November - his first visit to Wollongong since his sacking.The Australian Boomers assistant coach couldn't have wished for a better "homecoming" as his side toyed with the Hawks in a 33-point drubbing.But with the Blaze (0-7) stuck on the bottom of the ladder after seven games, Joyce is only concerned with winning Friday's battle."I've had calls from people about coming down, and (wife) Jo and I still have a lot of close ties with Wollongong, but no question, we need that first win more than ever, and that's the only thing that matters right now," he said.The Blaze reached the play-offs in their maiden campaign, but another loss would just about kill off their chances for a return to the post-season in 2008-09."We've had a pretty difficult schedule, and when you combine that with a couple of injuries to key players, it made us vulnerable," Joyce said."(James) Harvey and (Luke) Whitehead are pretty much 100 per cent fit now and we're getting good leadership from Harvey and Shane (Heal)."There's an edginess about the guys because they want to win, but they're really tight as a unit and we're actually playing pretty good basketball right now. We just have to go out and get it done."The Blaze have to back up on Saturday night at home against NBL leaders New Zealand."It's been tough but we're right back in the running if we can be 2-7 after this weekend," Joyce said.

Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide