Original Article from the Geelong Advertiser and Beth Davis HERE
THE NBL1 South season will recommence this weekend, with the Geelong Supercats facing a tough double header.
They will host the Bendigo Braves on Saturday night at the Geelong Arena, before travelling to Nunawading on Sunday to take on the Spectres.
In line with current state government restrictions, games will be played with no crowds,
with Supercats men’s coach Justin Schueller saying the team will need to create their own atmosphere.
“I’ll be looking to draw off Shea (Ili) to give his experience that he went through towards the tail end of the NBL season (with no crowds),” Schueller said.
“The team that generates their own energy and engagement through every single possession always has the advantage, with Melbourne United we were able to get that done and that’s something we’ll look to do this weekend.”
The team will have limited training sessions together before the weekend’s games, but Schueller remains confident that the depth and experience of the team can get the job done.
“The main thing we have been speaking about as a group through this break is that we are in control of our own destiny,” Schueller said.
“We’re one game behind North West Tasmania but we’d go ahead of them on a head to head, so we feel pretty good about whatever we face over the next few weeks to control where we end up heading in to finals.
The league has announced changes to the remaining fixture and finals structure, with the regular season to be extended by two weeks and the conference finals reduced from three weeks to two.
Quarterfinals will be played on Friday, September 3 and Saturday, September 4, with semi-finals on Sunday, September 5 and conference championships taking place on Saturday, September 11.
The NBL1 national finals, which will see teams from NBL1 South, North, Central and West come together in a final four format, has also been postponed and will be held from September 17 to 19.
ONE IN, ONE OUT FOR SUPERCATS WOMEN
AIMIE Clydesdale will make a welcome return for the Geelong Supercats, who will look to cover missing star forward Sara Blicavs in this weekend’s NBL1 South double header.
Clydesdale is back for the first time since Round 4, coming into the team for Blicavs, who was a late call up to the Opals team at the Tokyo Olympics.
Under the restructured fixture, the Supercats will play five games over the next three weeks, with this weekend’s double header against Bendigo and Nunawading crucial for the women’s finals chances.
Having lost narrowly to the Nunawading Spectres back in round 5, head coach Matthew
Paton is hopeful that the familiarity of knowing the opposition will help in the team’s limited preparation for the weekend ahead.
“Before the lockdown was called we were preparing to play Bendigo, we had been looking at film and the scout was done, so we have an ability to minimise preparation for that first game,” Paton said.
“Now playing Nunawading on the Sunday, that allows for a bit of extra familiarity, we have played them before. Playing on the road will be different, but we know their strengths and weaknesses.”
While the preparation from a scout perspective may relieve some pressure, the load on athlete’s bodies after a two-week break is the main concern in Paton’s game plan.
“It’s meant limited time on court, Wednesday was the first day we could be active (as a
team),” Paton said.
“There will obviously be a loss of conditioning from the girls not having competitive play.
“Being able to limit another team’s momentum, especially after the lockdown, will be extremely important.
We can’t give away any cheap points, we can’t afford to get into a hole early. We may have the energy stocks at the end to dig ourselves out.”