‘ Do or die’ promise
Re- ignited Hawks aim for five- game surge into play- offs
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.’’
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.
‘‘ 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.