Slammers head to Perth for “web-breaking” games

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Mitchell WoodcockSouth Western Times
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Past form means little when the Printsync South West Slammers and Perth Redbacks meet in game one of their quarter finals series, according to both coaches.

This Saturday night, the Slammers travel to Perth to take on the Redbacks at the Belmont Oasis Leisure Centre.

The two teams have traded wins this year, with the Redbacks defeating the Slammers at the Eaton Recreation Centre by 22 points in March, before the Slammers got their revenge with a five-point win in May.

The first game is an away trip for the Slammers, as the Redbacks finished higher on the ladder.

Normally a regional team would host the first game of the series if they finished lower on the ladder than the metropolitan opposition, but the State Basketball League has changed the rules so that this only occurs for the Geraldton Buccaneers and Goldfields Giants.

This means if the series goes to a game three, the Slammers and Redbacks will play each other in Perth less than 24 hours after playing in Eaton.

Slammers coach Charles Nix said neither team had played the other at full strength this season.

This weekend the Slammers will welcome back power forward Chris Douglas, while Travis Durnin will play his second game since returning from injury.

Nix said the Slammers would have to play the game at a “high tempo” if they were to win.

“We need to stretch their defence in transition,” he said.

“Both teams are reliant on stars not getting into foul trouble.”

Redbacks coach Nik Lackovic said he was confident his side would bring its late-season momentum into the game.

“They (the players) understand sacrifice and discipline,” he said.

“That was evident at the back end of the season to win our last four games against quality opposition.”

The Redbacks finished the season with wins against the Willetton Tigers, Geraldton Buccaneers, Mandurah Magic and East Perth Eagles.

Lackovic said the spread of contributors made the Redbacks a quality team.

“Any given night there is a handful of guys who can fill up the stats sheet,” he said.

“Our big names sacrifice their games for the good of the team.

“I am proud of the way everyone can contribute.”

Lackovic said the experience of former Wildcat Shawn Redhage had been a big factor in the team’s success.

“He understands what it takes to win a championship and his experience has been invaluable,” he said.

Nix said co-captain Clive Weeden would match-up on Redhage from tip-off.

“Clive did a great job on him last time,” he said.

“Chris and Brian will also get a shot at him.

“We need to crowd him offensively a little bit on offence.

“(Lee) Roberts has been in good form as well lately, so we will need to control his influence.”

Lackovic said the Redbacks would have to put time into stopping the Slammers’ perimeter shooting.

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