Crocs point guard to throw down against Wildcats Will holds the aces
POKER-FACED Crocodiles point guard Will Blalock is ready to show his winning hand against Perth tonight.
Townsville have billed the showdown with their bitter rivals as the biggest match in 10 years, not that there was a hint of tension during their final training session at The Swamp yesterday.
‘‘ I really don’t know how to spell pressure, so I’m not worried,’’ Blalock said after practice.
The import Croc appreciates that they are preparing for a game of high-stakes, with the winner taking a stranglehold of second-place on the ladder with two weeks of the regular season remaining.
And yet, there is nothing more daunting about stepping on to the floor tonight t han t here was r unning through his own head as he stepped up for routine shooting drills this week.
‘‘ I put more pressure on myself in practice, when I’m working on free throws and shooting wide open j ays ( jump shots), rather than in the game where I just let it flow,’’ he said.
‘‘ That’s the way I’ve always been. That way you know you are prepared, know that I’ve done it before, so when boom, the lights come on, the popcorn is popping and the stands are full, I know I’ve gotta hit the shot.’’
When it comes to Perth, Blalock knows what it means to win even though the Cats are the only side he’s yet to savour a victory against. A crash course on his arrival D o w n U n d e r l a s t y e a r , coupled with three losses including their only homecourt defeat this campaign, makes it a rivalry match second only to the ‘‘ Reptile Rumble’’ with Cairns.
Acknowledging history, however, is different to falling victim to the past.
‘‘ It hurts more when you know you really didn’t give the effort that was needed to get the win,’’ Blalock said as he talked about the solitary loss in 13 appearances at their Swamp fortress.
‘‘ I’ve watched tapes and seen the recent history of the past couple of years and know about all the back and forth between the teams.
‘‘ They have beaten us easy this year, but we didn’t have Roe ( Rosell Ellis) or the chemistry we’ve got now. This is a different team, a different game. They don’t have any mental edge on us.’’
Making that a statement of fact will be Blalock’s first order of business, taking Perth on at their own game from the get-go.
‘‘ We have to play at the pace that they are going to play and with the aggression that Perth is going to bring for 40 minutes and sustain that,’’ he said.
It’ll be a personal onslaught by Blalock on Round 22 player of the week Damian Mart i n , who f l i r t e d wi t h a quadruple-double – scoring 11 points, pulling down 11 rebounds as well as dishing up eight assists and pickp o c k e t i n g s e v e n s t e a l s against Gold Coast last week – when host i l i t i e s c o mmence.
‘‘ It starts with me and I’m ready for it,’’ Blalock said.
NO WORRIES: Will Blalock plays it cool before the big game against the Wildcats