Hawks veteran David Andersen is adamant Illawarra must keep the faith they can be an NBL title contender, amid their stuttering start to the campaign.
Illawarra slumped to a 3-6 record on the season last weekend after a disappointing 25-point defeat to Adelaide 36ers on Saturday afternoon.
The heavy loss was the club’s fourth in their past five matches and sees them stranded in seventh on the ladder after six rounds.
The barren run of results has unsurprisingly coincided with building pressure on the club, but Andersen says it’s imperative Illawarra stay focused on matters on the court.
The 38-year-old experienced a similar situation while playing with eventual champions Melbourne United twelve months ago.
United had five losses to their name at the same stage last season, but recovered to drop just three matches in the remaining 13 rounds before going onto to win the NBL title.
“It is one of those things where you just have to play through it,” Andersen said.
“You have to block out all that white noise.
“Last year when I was in Melbourne everyone was talking about us at around this time of year as well and they were all saying we were selfish, we don’t play hard and we don’t do this or that.
“People love to point fingers and talk crap about you. That comes with the business.
“We have to lock into what we know we need to do.
“That's starting to rebound. Play as a team and hustle.
“You have these tough periods in a season so we have to fight through it because in the end, consistency pays off.”
You have these tough periods in a season so we have to fight through itDavid Andersen
Illawarra can will get the chance to get back to winning ways against a Brisbane Bullets outfit which has also struggled for consistency in recent weeks.
The Bullets have lost three consecutive matches heading into Thursday’s showdown at Brisbane Convention Centre.
Illawarra beat Brisbane by eight points when the two sides played in Wollongong in round three.
However, the Hawks have secured just one road victory throughout the season so far and are desperate to turn around their form away from home.
“We need to get a road win,” Andersen said.
“We are going up there to try and get our focus back and the group firing on all cylinders.
“They had a loss in Melbourne as well so it will be backs to the wall. It will be a fight.
“We are expecting it to be like that. We want it like that so we want to get up for a big win.”
A win against the Bullets would see Illawarra join both Brisbane and Adelaide at 4-6 for the season.
The crucial contest against the Bullets will be quickly followed by a home stand against the 36ers on Sunday afternoon.
After that the league will have a international break, with the season to resume on December 6.