It's been a challenging start to the season, with road trips to Adelaide and Sydney, but in many ways, the challenges have only just begun for the Illawarra Hawks.
This weekend is our first back-to-back of the season and the boys are excited to set the tone with a victory over New Zealand at the WIN Entertainment Centre on Friday night.
After two NBL Blitz pre-season games were cancelled due to COVID scares, Friday's game will be the first time many in our squad have played at the Sandpit.
There's plenty to say about the venue, but the one thing I've made clear to my teammates is that the WEC is the best place in the league to play when it's full.
With two wins on the board, we're eager to keep the momentum rolling but we won't be taking the Breakers lightly.
They may be 0-3 to start the year, but they're a dangerous side who have faced a difficult schedule and we know they'll be desperate on Friday night.
For the Hawks, a victory provides us with the opportunity to travel up to Brisbane for Sunday's match full of confidence.
A trip to Queensland is never easy, but it will become considerably tougher if we fall to New Zealand.
Two days is not a lot of time to rest, recover and regroup, so we're looking to defeat the Breakers and then head to Brisbane to take on a travel-weary Bullets side.
Given the nature of this league, every side can beat their opponents on their day.
For us, that means playing well is simply not enough. We've been good enough to secure two key victories without playing our best, but now the focus is on building with each game.
Our combinations are starting to improve and our new recruits, Duop (Reath), Antonius (Cleveland), Xavier (Rathan-Mayes) are steadily finding their feet.
Goorj has done a fantastic job working these guys into our rotation and finding ways to ensure they complement Tyler (Harvey), Justinian (Jessup) and Sam (Froling).
The goal is to ensure we take another step forward this weekend.
We do, unfortunately have a small cloud lingering over us this week, with Justinian and Sam cited by the league's Game Review Panel.
Past history shows a suspension is unlikely and the incident at the end of Saturday's game was a minor one.
I've been around this league long enough to know that fights rarely break out on the basketball court. Players may push and shove, but they almost never throw punches.
The incident in Sunday's Throwdown between Melbourne United and South-East Melbourne isn't ideal, but it shows the passion of the players in this league.
These games matter to us and we don't want to take a backwards step with everything on the line.
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