Taipans will test Hawks' top spot resolve


A big test of character for sporting teams is their ability to bounce back from defeat, and the Wollongong Hawks are no different.

Coach Gordie McLeod says Saturday's clash against the Cairns Taipans looms as an important test of resolve for his side in the wake of their first loss of the season.

Wollongong were perched atop the NBL ladder undefeated, before a lacklustre offensive display saw them bow to the Sydney Kings 65-51 last Friday.

But with the prospect of reclaiming the top spot, McLeod said the Hawks (5-1) could move on from the loss with a turnaround victory at home this week.

"Every game is important," McLeod said.

"What's gone is gone - what is in the past is only for learning and what's in the future is what we want to achieve.

"We've just got to make sure that we continue to make progress. We want to make sure that we do things better than last week, and the week before that, and the week before that.

"The loss was disappointing but that's the reality of professional sport and what we do. It's now about us coming up with the right game plan and it's about us as a team getting ourselves ready for the challenge ahead."

Seventh-placed Cairns would have shared a few home truths themselves since Saturday's 73-54 loss to defending champs and new competition leaders New Zealand.

The Taipans nailed only 27 per cent shooting against the Breakers, underlining what has been a hot and cold start to the season (3-4).

But McLeod has seen enough from the Aaron Fearne-coached side to know they can stymie Wollongong's progress.

"We played them back in round two and we had a very tight contest against them up there," he said.

"They've had some good results since, so we're going to have to play well to beat them."

McLeod identified rebounding as a major area for improvement for the Hawks, and agreed a repeat of last week's 31 per cent shooting rate wouldn't cut the mustard.

"Our rebounding was an area that we let ourselves down in last week," he said.

"Certainly, we want to loosen ourselves up a bit in our offence and shoot the ball better."

Tip-off for Saturday night's game, at the WIN Entertainment Centre, is 7.30pm.

Gordie McLeod.

Gordie McLeod.


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