Supercats ready to go in Tassie

Original Article from the Geelong Advertiser can be found HERE

WITH a double header looming in Tasmania, Geelong Super­cats women’s coach Matthew Paton is taking a “one game at a time” approach.

The Supercats face the 16th-placed Hobart Chargers on Friday night before taking on the Launceston Tornadoes (second) on Saturday night, but Paton says their focus is first and foremost on the Chargers.

“We don’t want to look past Hobart,” Paton said. “A lot of teams have shown in this league that if you look past or underestimate them, it can rise up and bite you.

“First things first, we have to make sure we come up with a win against Hobart.”

Sara Blicavs in Supercats colours. Picture: Stephen Harman
Sara Blicavs in Supercats colours. Picture: Stephen Harman

Geelong is yet to play a game with its full roster, with injuries plaguing the team since round 1.

Rebekah O’Donnell has been a key contributor all season but was out with injury last weekend, while Aimie Clydesdale is expected to return in the next few weeks after being out since round 4.

While the return of Sara Blicavs (pictured) helped the Supercats to a 2-0 weekend last round, Paton said a contribution from the whole team would be required to come away from Tasmania with ­another two wins.

“Having Sara back bolsters confidence – she is an elite-level athlete. I wouldn’t doubt that the girls walk a little taller knowing she is there and able to contribute in ways that only she can,” Paton said.

“From our point of view, it’s a matter of making sure we don’t just rely on individuals, we have to make sure that we have even contributions if we want to compete with teams like Launceston.”

With Geelong sitting in 10th spot with a 4-5 record, two wins in Tasmania would put the Supercats in a strong position to make a run for finals.

MEN READY TO GO AFTER INITIAL TASSIE DELAY

OFF the back of two big wins last weekend, the Geelong Supercats will finally travel to Tasmania this weekend to take on the Hobart Chargers and the North West Tasmania Thunder.

The trip was originally scheduled for the first weekend in June, before Victoria’s Covid lockdown put the NBL1 South season on pause.

But the delay could prove valuable to the Supercats, with George Blagojevic now in the squad and making his mark on the league already in his first two games, averaging 33 points and 11 rebounds.

George Blagojevic has made a splash. Picture: Jacqui Neill.
George Blagojevic has made a splash. Picture: Jacqui Neill.

Coach Justin Schueller said he was pleased with the output from his team following the short break.

“The integration of George was great – he hit the ground running as we expected he would,” Schueller said.

(His inclusion) allowed us to try a few different things with the versatility of the group, playing Owen (Odigie) at the 5 and pairing him next to George.”

Ma’alo Hicks will rejoin the team for the trip to Tasmania after missing last weekend’s games due to injury.

However, Geelong will still be without Wang Nyieth, who went down with a suspected knee injury in the warm-up in last weekend’s home game.

The extent of the injury is still unknown.

Geelong Supercats coach Justin Schueller addresses his team. Picture: Mark Wilson
Geelong Supercats coach Justin Schueller addresses his team. Picture: Mark Wilson

Both Hobart and North West Tasmania are in the top four on the ladder, with the Chargers sitting just below Geelong in fourth place and North West Tasmania holding top spot.

With the Supercats playing four games in seven days, they adjusted their training schedule this week to ensure recovery and strength and conditioning were a focus.

“We’re just making sure that we’re in a position where we are able to control the way we want to play, and dictate those terms,” Schueller said.

“We’re making sure we still get the detail in place but that the boys are fresh and ready to go.”

This weekend’s games will be a homecoming of sorts for Schueller, who was the head of high performance at the Tasmanian Institute of Sport for five years.

Gabe Hadley will also enjoy a return to his home state and is looking forward to playing in front of his family.