CAIRNS are due for a slice of luck but Illawarra coach Rob Beveridge hopes it’s not at the expense of his side on Friday night.
The Taipans are 1-8 and remarkably yet to taste victory on their home floor, with their lone win coming on the road in their season-opener against Brisbane.
The Hawks broke the Snakes incredible 17-year run of wins in home openers in round two with a 104-93 win at Cairns Convention Centre.
It set in motion a losing run that’s since stretched to seven straight games heading into Friday’s showdown but Beveridge remains very wary of rookie coach Mike Kelly’s men.
“They’ve probably been the unluckiest team in the league,” Beveridge said.
“People are saying they’re coming last, they’ve got a new coach, they’re a new team and all those things people say but they’re a very well-coached team and they’re in the mix.
“They’re so close [to a win]. Perth are the number one team right now and they pushed them to overtime.
“On the road in Adelaide [last round] they got back in that game and could’ve snuck that one so they’re on the verge of winning.”
The win in round two – with key men AJ Ogilvy and Kevin White watching on injured from the bench – ended a northern hoodoo of sorts for the Hawks who hadn’t won in Cairns in almost five years.
They’ll also be buoyed by their last start win over Adelaide, in which they dropped a staggering 60 first-half points, ensuring they’ll head to the tropics confident they can grab the road win.
“We had a great win against Adelaide, I know we’re starting to play well and we feel good about ourselves, but this is a massive danger game for us,” Beveridge said.
“We go in with great confidence, there’s no question, but with absolute full respect that they’re so close to becoming really, really good.
“You’re always a bit worried coming off a 10-day break. [Nat] Jawai had a great [Boomers] series, he’s playing with confidence, he’s back with the national team so he’s going to come in with a real swagger.
“Melo Trimble’s up there in MVP discussions with the likes of [Casper] Ware and [Bryce] Cotton and [Jerome] Randle and those sorts of guys so he’s a stud.
“They’ve got all the pieces, [DJ] Newbill is outstanding and they’re so good at what they do. They’ve been such an unlucky team and I just hope we don’t bring them any luck.”