After being on arguably our toughest road trip, to Melbourne via Perth, it's nice to be back in Wollongong.
Heading west to face the Wildcats, we always knew it was going to be tough. They're a great team who plays well at home, but they'd had a couple of down games before we got over there.
I thought we played some pretty good basketball to be in it in the fourth quarter, but they were just too good unfortunately. The good news is I don't think we can complain too much about the way we played, except for maybe the last six minutes.
Our disappointing record in Perth has been well discussed. In fact, I've only won one game there in my career. It's not a great statistic, but it's a tough place to play. We didn't play our best basketball, but we played well enough to be in it. And that's all you can ask for.
We then hit the road again to face the pre-season favourite. I think we match up better with Melbourne, so we had more confidence heading into that game, but a long travel day meant we didn't have much time for practise.
There was a big focus on locking in on Melbourne and trying to put ourselves in a position to win. We stuck around with them, even though they shot the ball incredibly well, in particularly in that first quarter. We hung around, but it was the same thing. A couple of plays either way, and we're right there in the last few minutes. But, on the road, that doesn't always happen for you.
We learned a lot from those two games. We've learned that we're a good enough team that even if we don't play our best basketball, we're still going to be in it down the stretch. We've just got to be able to learn from these experiences and lock in a bit harder, or pick up our intensity in the fourth quarter to get us over the top.
But, for now, it's nice to be back. And we've been able to have a bit of a break.
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We've been back in Wollongong before, but straight into game prep. Or back, and straight into a game. So it's nice to have a few days here to decompress a little bit and evaluate where we're at before jumping into the next game. And it's going to be a huge one against Sydney. We see it as a double points game. They're competing for the fourth spot, as are we, so it's going to be massive for us.
I think that break is going to be a huge for us, whereas Sydney have another game before our one. It will be nice to play against someone who, coming into the game, is tired, rather than us being the team on the back of a double header.
It's always a high intensity game against them. The crowd is especially electric on those nights where we play at home against the Kings. So hopefully our Hawkheads will turn out on Saturday night and give us that energy we need to get on top and secure a win.