Demos ready to battle with Jackson 

Wollongong Hawks guard Tyson Demos, right, in action against the Melbourne Tigers. Picture: ROBERT PEET
Wollongong Hawks guard Tyson Demos, right, in action against the Melbourne Tigers. Picture: ROBERT PEET

He might not lead his team in scoring but Wollongong Hawks guard Tyson Demos is usually the first to get his hands dirty at the defensive end.

The feisty backcourt bruiser has the toughest assignment in the NBL tomorrow night in Auckland - stopping New Zealand Breakers star Cedric Jackson.

"I enjoy playing against him," Demos said of the league MVP favourite.

"He's probably the best player in the NBL and I always look forward to going up against people like that, and proving that I'm not scared to step up to the challenge."

Last week Demos ran himself ragged trying to stifle Melbourne Tigers ace Jonny Flynn.

Given that the Hawks square off with Townsville at home on Sunday, Demos will have faced the league's top three point guards - not to mention the top three MVP candidates - in the space of nine days.

Lining up for the Crocodiles is former Wollongong import and 2011 NBL MVP Gary Ervin.

Demos knows Ervin will be a handful but the mercurial Jackson is next on his hit-list.

"He's one of the best I've played against," he said of the NBL's leader in assists and steals.

"He's quick, strong, he's got great footwork. Not only is he a great offensive player, he's one of the best defensive players as well. He's a massive key piece to the New Zealand team."

Demos has always been quick to roll up his sleeves when it comes to defence.

The 24-year-old former Illawarra junior's knack for getting in the face - and sometimes under the skin - of opposing guards could be a vital ingredient in Wollongong's quest for a top four finish.

"I'm getting some good opportunities, and at times it's been frustrating because I haven't really been playing that well, but I've got to stay confident and play aggressive," he said.

"Playing a bit more aggressive and physical, that's one of the things we sometimes do lack, so we definitely need to bring more intensity and a harder edge to our defence.

"Especially against New Zealand because they're a very good offensive rebounding team. That's where they've hurt us in the past and it's definitely one of the main things we have to stop this weekend, their offensive rebounding and that physicality. We have to stand our ground and match it with them."


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