BRAD COLE THE ADVOCATE It will be a case of how and not how many for North-West Thunder coach Sam Armstrong as he tries to return his side to the NBL1 winners list in Saturday night’s Tasmanian derby with Hobart.
After a inspiring win over Albury Wodonga last month, the Thunder have been plagued with inconsistency in its three games since and have dropped out of top eight.
Armstrong has used the mid-season break to try and address the issue. “From a physical standpoint we’re not going to get any fitter at this time of year – it’s more about the mental aspects of the game and making sure our concentration levels are there in games so we give ourselves a chance,” he said.
“We’re always looking at what we do pre-game or our preparation for the week as a whole to ensure that when we walk out onto the floor for a game, we can roll over what we’ve been doing at practice and put it into play.
“We’ve gone over stuff at practice and done really well but haven’t been able to implement that into games for long enough consistently.
“It’s really hurting us at the moment and we have to improve.”
Armstrong is also in the process of tinkering with his starting line-up following the departure of shooting guard Tre Armstrong, who was averaging 16.25 points per game.
The coach said while he has some options available, he will look to see how Hobart line up on the night but expects the rest of the team to pick up the scoring slack.
“We’ll work through some things at practice and obviously we will look a bit different going forward but we have some options,” Armstrong said.
“I think in general Hobart are a smaller team so we may look to start a little smaller as well but in saying that the last time we played them, Nick (Banyard) and Paul (Campbell) played really well as a combination so we have that up our sleeve as well.
“I don’t think any one person needs to pick the slack up left by Tre but it’s more about spreading the load.”
The Huskies are set to be without star guard Tad Dufemeier for the game after he was called up as a replacement by the Southern Huskies for their trip to New Zealand this weekend.
However with talented import Jalen Adams (22.42 ppg) still in the line up, along with Penguin premiership players Zac White and Jacob Richards, Armstrong won’t be taking the opposition lightly despite accounting for them 102-95 back on April 13.
“I’m preparing for a really tough game against these guys,” Armstrong said.
“They’re not unlike ourselves in some ways – they have a pretty heavy emphasis on their local players now and they are starting to produce with results against some good teams.
“Adams played quite well against us last time and has found his feet in this league, so we’ll be expecting an improved outfit from the one we played earlier in the year.”
Saturday’s game at Ulverstone tips off at 7.30pm.