Thunder recharged for late season challenge

JARRYD MCGUANE  THE ADVOCATE  A refreshed North West Tall Timbers Thunder side welcome the Melbourne Tigers to Ulverstone Sports and Leisure Centre for round 10 SEABL action on Saturday night.

Coach Sam Armstrong said the break came at the right time for his players, following their tense one-point win over Canberra, and allowed them to recover from minor injuries before a tough stretch in the season.

“I think they come to this point in the year and things have been fairly hectic for them with NWBU commitments as well as team training and the general rigours of playing in two competitions,” Armstrong said.

“Everyone has recovered well, that was the good thing about the break is that it was an extra week off our legs and guys who had niggles are healthy and hopefully they can stay that way for the remainder of the season.

“I think it has been good for the guys to get away physically and mentally to recharge before we come in and attack these last eight games.” 

The Thunder’s opponents on Saturday night, the Melbourne Tigers, sit in sixth place on the ladder and feature two of the league’s highest scorers in Tom Wilson and Dexter Kernich-Drew. Team defence on the athletic Tigers is the key for the Thunder believed Armstrong, who will give players very specific roles.

“They have two NBL guys along their guard line and they are a super athletic and high scoring team, so it is about resetting defensively after the Canberra game and getting back to our core principles.

“With Tom Wilson and Dexter in their team, they have two of the top five leading scorers in the league, so we know we will have our hands full and I am looking for a total defensive effort this week. Some guys will have some individual assignments on those guys, but collectively our team defence needs to be good and that will be the focus.”

Saturday night is the third last home game for the Thunder with Ulverstone hosting Dandenong in round 12 and Devonport playing host to Diamond Valley in round 14. It will start at 7.30pm.

Cancer Council fundraiser

The Thunder’s clash against the Melbourne Tigers at Ulverstone on Saturday will be so much more than just a game of basketball. It will also be the club’s annual fundraiser for the Cancer Council.

The game will be played in memory of former SEABL and NWBU player Todd Nothrop, a man the club described as being a “great friend to so many people in basketball circles”.

Nothrop died of cancer in 1995 at the age of 25. 

The club will be “rattling donation tins” in the foyer at the Ulverstone Sports and Leisure Centre ahead of the start of the contest against the Tigers and players will wear yellow socks.

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