North-West Take on Frankston Blues and Dandenong Ranger in SEABL games


BRAD COLE   THE ADVOCATE   Taking care of business at home will be the first point of order for the North-West Tall Timbers Thunder on Friday night as they embark on a unique block of two games.

Following the clash with the Blues at Ulverstone, Sam Armstrong’s team will head to the airport on Saturday morning and travel to Dandenong for an encounter with a highly-regarded Rangers outfit.

But while a Frankston team that has only won one game this season should be an easy assignment on paper for the ninth-placed Thunder, Armstrong won’t be taking them lightly as he looks to extend a two-game winning streak.

“Every team in this league is capable of winning on any night, and we are very wary of the Blues,” he said. 

“Once they hit their straps, I can see them winning plenty of games, but I just hope we can continue our form from the win against Geelong into Friday night – that’s been our focus.

“We’ve spoken a lot about protecting home court, and if you win a high percentage of your games at home you are probably around the mark and push for a top-eight spot.

“For us it’s about continuing some good home form and we’ve won our last two games there now, hopefully we can make it three.”

Helping the Thunder get back to a even keel after three straight losses has been an even spread of the scoring load, with four players, led by Mason Bragg, averaging between 16 and 10.6 points per game.

Armstrong said that is exactly what is needed as Bragg becomes more and more comfortable with running the team on the floor.

Every team in this league is capable of winning on any night, and we are very wary of the Blues.

North-West Thunder coach Sam Armstrong

“In the games we have won this year, we’ve had a really good spread (of scorers),” he said. 

“We can’t rely on the likes of Mason and Jeremiah (Ingram) to have 25 points or more in a game for us to win, and if we do then other contributions from other guys are needed.

“I think Mason has found that balance now and he knows he needs to be a scoring point guard for us – if he continues the way he’s going to be a very valuable asset for us.”

Saturday’s journey sees the Thunder try and avoid the travel drama that beset them last season when they travelled to Dandenong, where they arrived at the stadium just 10 minutes before tip-off.

“I hope I don’t have another mad dash across the city like that in my whole career,” Armstrong said. 

“If we get on the plane to start with, I think we will be okay.

“We’ll do a short recovery block on Saturday morning as a group, head to the airport, then another recovery session when we get to Melbourne just to try and get our legs right for Saturday night.”

The Thunder will have Tre Armstrong back in the side for both games, but will only use Ben Richmond for Saturday’s game as he continues to manage a lingering foot injury.

Friday night’s game at the Ulverstone Sports and Leisure Centre gets underway at 8pm.