IF MELBOURNE United didn’t have enough weapons in their arsenal, Illawarra will have to contend with an in-form DJ Kennedy in Thursday’s Wollongong showdown.
The former D-League All-Star has been hit and miss since joining the reigning champions this season but sprang to life with a 24 points and 10 boards against Sydney on Monday.
Kennedy had a double-double with 21 points and five boards in the first meeting between the sides in round one, though an ankle injury suffered in that match hampered the 29-year-old.
He’ll make his second visit to Wollongong in even more ominous form this time around.
“It’s always interesting when you come into a new league and a new team, especially a team that won a championship,” Kennedy said.
It was more getting a feel for the guys, them getting a feel for me.DJ Kennedy
“It was more getting a feel for the guys, them getting a feel for me.
“Coach is putting me in situations the last few games and that’s really it, me just finding my rhythm the last few games.
“Early on I had an ankle injury so I couldn’t get those practice reps in and catch that rhythm.
“I was able to put a whole week together and I felt more comfortable and [had] more confidence and I wanted to take advantage.”
While Kennedy is finding his groove the Hawks will face United without skipper Chris Goulding with the club confirming on Wednesday that he won’t travel to Wollongong.
Goulding injured his knee in a double-overtime loss to Perth two weeks ago which saw him sit out his side’s last meeting with the Hawks.
He succumbed to it again in Cairns, missing Monday’s clash with Sydney, and Vickerman said others will need to continue stepping up in his absence.
“We don’t know when we get him back but it won’t be too far away,” Vickerman
“I know we’re probably going to be at the end of our heavy patch when we get him back.
“The guys are pushing really hard and to have a fresh body and another weapon to come in is really important.
“It’s a credit to these guys to go the three games without him so far and picking up those wins.”