‘ Do or die’ prom­ise

Re- ig­nited Hawks aim for five- game surge into play- offs

Townsville Bulletin - - Sport - by Antony Ste­wart antony. ste­wart@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

THE Hawks have warned Townsville to brace for ‘‘ door-die’’ in­ten­sity when the teams rum­ble in Wol­lon­gong tonight.

Noth­ing will be left to chance by the des­per­ate and freak­ishly tal­ented Hawks, who have set their sights on win­ning all five of their re­main­ing games to surge into the NBL play-offs.

And the leg-weary Croc­o­diles will know it is any­thing but empty am­bi­tion from last year’s grand fi­nal­ists. While a nine-game mid-sea­son los­ing streak threat­ened to de­rail a stun­ning 9-2 start to the cam­paign, Wol­lon­gong are re-ig­nit­ing fol­low­ing thump­ing wins over NBL lead­ers New Zealand and de­fend­ing champs Perth.

Hawks cap­tain Mat Camp­bell said the team had made a pact to not lose again.

‘‘ That’s our men­tal­ity at the mo­ment. You al­ways like to con­trol your own des­tiny and we can do that if we win all our games . . . and the group’s got a lot of con­fi­dence in it at the mo­ment,’’ the vet­eran guard said.

‘‘ The way we’ve played at home has been pretty awe­some and we’re look­ing to re­peat that again against the Crocs.’’

Croc­o­diles

coach

Trevor Glee­son re­sponded with ‘‘ bring it on’’ men­tal­ity.

‘‘ That’s the way it should be, it tough­ens you up for the play-offs,’’ Glee­son said.

Townsville ar­rived in Syd­ney yes­ter­day fol­low­ing a gut-wrench­ing one-point loss to New Zealand in Thurs­day’s top-of-the-ta­ble clash. De­spite a lit­tle bit of men­tal scar­ring, Glee­son was con­fi­dent his charges had re­cov­ered well ahead of a game that could have a large bear­ing on the club’s top-two as­pi­ra­tions.

De­feat to the Break­ers saw Townsville drop to 14-9, one loss ahead of third-placed Perth, who have the split on the Crocs.

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‘‘ Four­teen ( wins) is not go­ing to get you into the play­offs, so we’ve got to make sure we get up there as fast as we can and push for a toptwo fin­ish,’’ said Glee­son, who added the Crocs would need to ex­e­cute their of­fence bet­ter than they did against the Break­ers.

Camp­bell, a long­time neme­sis of the Croc­o­diles, said Wol l o n g o n g wer e d e t e r - mined to test just how much the last-gasp loss and travel from Auck­land had taken out of the vis­i­tors.

‘‘ It’s im­por­tant that we get out and get into the legs of the boys,’’ Camp­bell said.

‘‘ Then, come the last quart e r , w h e n s o me o f t h e d e c i s i o n-mak­ing may b e ham­pered by when they get tired, that’s what you hope for, to wear them down and take ad­van­tage of it.’’

The teams have met twice this sea­son, with the Hawks win­ning a one-point thriller be­fore Townsville claimed some con­fi­dence cour­tesy of a 19-point drub­bing at The Swamp last month.

‘‘ It’s a new ball game – they had a good win against New Zealand last game – so it’s go­ing to be a hos­tile crowd and they’re fight­ing for sur­vival, so it’s go­ing to be an­other fully in­tense play-off game,’’ Glee­son said.

Tip-off is 6.30pm and broad­cast live on OneHD.

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