Crocs thump back to earth

Crunched on the re­bound count in con­sec­u­tive games

Townsville Bulletin - - Sport - by ANDREW ALOIA andrew. aloia@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

THE pic­ture wasn’t pretty, but it’s now clear to Townsville coach Trevor Glee­son where the Croc­o­diles stand in the NBL.

A four-game win­ning streak put to­gether at home was put to an abrupt end on the road, with the Crocs fall­ing to both New Zealand and Wol­lon­gong.

Glee­son summed it up as a ‘‘ kick in the pants’’, leav­ing no mis­con­cep­tions as to what work needed to be done ahead of the play-offs in a lit­tle over a month’s time.

‘‘ It gives a false sense play­ing in Townsville,’’ Glee­son said.

‘‘ You get a few home game wins and get con­fi­dence up and then go away and we got beat up, two games we got beat up.

‘‘ We have to re­ally eval­u­ate where we are right now and step up to the mark where it is.’’

Townsville are still a heavy­weight out­fit this sea­son, sitting com­fort­ably in­side the top four and play­ing with a gutsy qual­ity that en­sured both the Break­ers and Hawks had to work doggedly un­til the fi­nal pos­ses­sion to se­cure vic­tory.

A re­silient Rosell El­lis was the pick of the Croc­o­diles over both legs of the road trip, with vet­eran guard Nathan Cross­well adding life to the team in the sec­ond pe­riod of a bleak Wol­lon­gong game.

But Glee­son laments there was no drag­ging them­selves out of the mire they found them­selves in early.

‘‘ We dug our­selves a hole in New Zealand but the guys fought su­perbly in the sec­ond half and we did the same again ( in Wol­lon­gong) with a sec­ond-half fight­back,’’ Glee­son said.

‘‘ But we have to know when the fight starts and that fight starts at the start of the game.’’

In­stead, what the Crocs tipped-off with was a scrappy, er­ror-laden and timid per­for­mance in the do-or-die clash with the Hawks.

The turnover count was telling from both sides early, with five apiece by the end of the first quar­ter.

‘‘ It cer­tainly wasn’t Crocs bas­ket­ball, we were play­ing scared, we weren’t play­ing ag­gres­sively,’’ Glee­son said. ‘‘ That first half ( against the Hawks) was the most dis­ap­point­ing, we haven’t played that kind of bas­ket­ball from about the sec­ond or third game.’’

Even al­low­ing for the never-say­die attitude the Crocs dis­played in turn­ing an 18-point deficit into a one-point loss to New Zealand and get­ting back to within seven points of Wol­lon­gong hav­ing trailed by up to 19, Glee­son had rea­son to be frus­trated.

‘‘ We shouldn’t be in that sit­u­a­tion where you have to show char­ac­ter at half­time, it’s a 40-minute game and we have to go from the word go and we didn’t do that,’’ he said. ‘‘ We got out-hus­tled and out­played in both games and we cer­tainly dug into that char­ac­ter . . . but we can’t keep do­ing that, chas­ing our tails.’’

CON­TENDERS pla­cency.

And that is what Townsville for­ward Rosell El­lis said must be reme­died af­ter the Croc­o­diles’ los­ing road dou­ble fin­ished with a d i s a s t r o u s s h o w i n g a g a i n s t Wol­lon­gong on Satur­day.

The 87-77 de­feat by the Hawks sees the Crocs drop to third on the Na­tional Bas­ket­ball League lad­der.

But it’s not their stand­ing which wor­ries El­lis, with Townsville crunched on the re­bound count in con­sec­u­tive games. Of most concern was the fee­ble show­ing against the worst re­bound­ing team in the league, Wol­lon­gong, with the Crocs out-mus­cled on the glass 38-23.

El­lis said the fig­ure was more




Rosell El­lis telling than the loss it­self.

‘‘ Any team can win games, but a cham­pi­onship team takes care of the re­bound­ing and box­ing out and takes care of the ball and stuff like that, things we slacked on this week­end,’’ El­lis said.

‘‘ That is what a cham­pi­onship team does, they do it all the time not just some of the time and we have been do­ing it some of the time.

‘‘ So we had a lit­tle win streak go­ing, but in or­der to be that cham­pi­onship team we have got to have that as our sec­ond na­ture.’’

Coach Trevor Glee­son was blunt in his as­sess­ment.

‘‘ We got slaugh­tered both games,’’ Glee­son said.

‘‘ When we re­bound well we win games, but our work rate wasn’t high enough to win on the road.’’

Crocs cap­tain Rus­sell Hin­der ad­mit­ted the per­for­mances were a pale im­i­ta­tion of those of re­cent weeks, the team hav­ing failed to fire of­fen­sively and lack­ing any sense of cohesion against t he Hawks in fin­ish­ing with a pal­try seven team as­sists.

‘‘ We must have checked them ( form) at cus­toms on the way to New Zealand I guess,’’ Hin­der joked on his ar­rival at Townsville Air­port yes­ter­day.

‘‘ Hope­fully they still have them there, and we’ll go pick them up from over­sized bag­gage.’’

Apart from spir­ited sec­ond-half show­ings in both matches, Hin­der saw no pos­i­tives.

‘‘ It was crappy and just didn’t feel right,’’ he said.

‘‘ We fought tooth and nail in the sec­ond half of that New Zealand game and the sec­ond half of the Wol­lon­gong game, that was Crocs bas­ket­ball so it wasn’t miss­ing com­pletely.

‘‘ We just have to have a lot more con­fi­dence in our­selves as a great team and be­lieve that we de­serve to win this competition.’’

As for his own con­vic­tions, Hin­der was unswerv­ing that this was Townsville’s year.

‘‘ I be­lieve it, and will firmly be­lieve it to the day that I die that this is the year that we should win,’’ he said.

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