BY CAMRON SLESSOR (@camronslessor) THE ADVOCATE The North-West Tall Timbers Thunder are ready to show their home fans just how far they’ve come this SEABL season when they take on rivals, the Hobart Chargers this Saturday.
The Coastal side have stormed back into finals contention in recent weeks and come into the clash at Ulverstone fresh from two wins on the road last weekend.
The Thunder sit just one win below the Chargers on the southern conference ladder but the North-West side were dealt their heaviest loss of the season when they went down to their rivals by 57 points in round one.
But assistant coach Nick Haywood said his team had come a long way since that low point and were ready to showcase just how far.
“It’s a completely different team now but we’re definitely a bit bitter about the game at the start of the year,” Haywood said.
“But we just want to follow the process like we’ve being doing because we’ve done such a great job as a team regardless of who we’re playing.”
Haywood said his side were well aware good form didn’t always translate into wins and Hobart were certainly a team who would push the tempo.
“Hobart have got lots of weapons in their team and if they all show up on Saturday night then we’re in for a hell of a fight.
““It’s a big game and I think everyone understands the importance of that, they’re a great team and they’ve showed that all year.
“I think collectively as a team we need to perform, which is what we’ve been doing lately.
“We’ve had everyone on our bench stepping up as well and our local guys have been just as good as our recruits, so we’re after full energy from all the guys.”
Thunder captain Brad Simpson said while the rivalry may add fire to the belly for the players, his side’s focus would remained solely on locking down a finals spot.
“We’ve got a good starting five and a good core of eight guys who we’ve been able to rotate through and I think everyone has been playing consistently and playing their role,” Simpson said.
“We haven’t won for a couple of years against Hobart so we’re definitely looking to take back the Schweppes Cup.
“We’re in the four right now but we’ve got a tough last five games so we still have to make sure we pick up wins and that starts on Saturday night,” he said.
Simpson said the coaching staff had done a great job of preaching the process this season and the Thunder would need to step up defensively against the Chargers this weekend.
“They’ve got one of the best offensive teams in the league so their starting five is very strong, defensively as a team we’ve got to be able to execute for the full four quarters.
“We can’t let them score 100 points as they have against many teams this year, so defensively we’ve got to get after them and put in a solid performance.”