Rivalry game sets the tone for finals

Mitchell WoodcockSouthern Telegraph

Printsync South West Slammers coach Charles Nix sees this Saturday night’s game against the Joondalup Wolves as a great test ahead of the play-offs.

With a top-four spot and home court advantage in the play-offs on the line, the Slammers travel to Joondalup Basketball Stadium to take on the second-placed Wolves.

Nix confirmed the Slammers would still be missing Chris Douglas, who was being rested as a precaution due to a slight hip injury.

“He has a little bit of a niggle and we want to make sure he is ready for play-offs,” he said.

“We do not want to risk injuring him any further.

“It is more of a precaution at this stage.”

Joondalup coach Ben Ettridge said the Slammers-Wolves rivalry was one of the competition’s best.

“It goes right back to the 90s when it was James Fitch battling Vince Kelley,” he said. “They are just too evenly matched teams.

“It is as close to a city versus country rivalry as you can get.”

Ettridge said the Slammers’ roster was “stacked” and believed they had a four-prong offence.

“They play a ground and pound style of basketball,” he said.

“It’s their offence of (Michel) Lay, (Tre) Nichols, (Clive) Weeden and (Brian) Voelkel that makes them really dangerous,” he said.

“Nix is also a coach who has given us issues in the past, for both Perry Lakes and earlier this year at the Slammers.”

Ettridge said the Wolves would have to try to limit the offensive opportunities Voelkel gives.

“Brian is what I would describe as a meat and potatoes player,” he said.

“He just gives you everything.

“You have to focus on what they get off him and counteract that.”

Nix said the Slammers hoped to stun the Wolves with a new offensive gameplan they had implemented in the past month.

“It is about spacing and identifying opportunities on offence,” he said.

“We have to be consistent with our message as they are a great defensive team. That is because they are disciplined.

“We have to get into transition if we can. We don’t want to slow down, just identify when their defence is set.”

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