Crocs won’t be fak­ing it

Townsville Bulletin - - Baskteball - by Andrew Aloia andrew. aloia@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

IT’S a prin­ci­ple sa­cred to Rus­sell Hin­der and one he de­fends with all his might.

So when he heard ru­mours that Townsville in­tended to sab­o­tage to­mor­row night’s ‘‘ Rep­tile Rum­ble’’ with Cairns, the Croc­o­diles skip­per took it to heart.

‘‘ You don’t be­come a player in the NBL and you don’t be­come a player for the Townsville Croc­o­diles – and I’ll put my life on this – un­less ev­ery time you step on court you are ready to win that bas­ket­ball game,’’ Hin­der said. ‘‘ If you want to start com­pro­mis­ing the ethics of bas­ket­ball, then you won’t have a job here and pretty soon you won’t have a job in the NBL.’’

Even if it was the Taipans’ sug­ges­tion that the Crocs would pre­fer to meet their north­ern neigh­bours in the first week of the fi­nals, the idea was sum­mar­ily dis­missed by the Crocs’ camp.

A loss to the Taipans in the last reg­u­lar-sea­son round would set up a tan­ta­lis­ing semi-fi­nal se­ries be­tween the arch ri­vals, while vic­tory would force them into an ex­haust­ing show­down with de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Perth.

For Hin­der, it’s not a ques­tion of who they play but the mind­set they take into the post-sea­son.

‘‘ It would be a very, very slip­pery slope if you started hav­ing those thoughts and went down that road,’’ Hin­der said.

‘‘ If we don’t win it, then who has all the mo­men­tum and con­fi­dence go­ing in?’’

Shoot­ing guard Michael Cedar knows there is only one an­swer.

‘‘ You don’t want to lose a game go­ing into a semi-fi­nal se­ries be­cause you don’t want the other team com­ing in with a bit of con­fi­dence,’’ Cedar said.

Just to com­pli­cate things, the fi­nals road has al­ready been mapped out by NBL of­fi­cials, with two pos­si­ble sce­nar­ios for the Crocs. And it’s clear that noth­ing will come easy, start­ing at home to­mor­row week.

If it’s the Taipans that Townsville are squar­ing off against, they will have to back up for the re­turn fix­ture 24 hours later.

If it’s Perth, they will have un­til Sun­day be­fore they back up in the West Aus­tralian cap­i­tal. But there is 13 hours of travel to fac­tor into that.

Hin­der is a re­al­ist, and he sees the good and bad in both out­comes.

When pressed, the 31-year-old didn’t talk of what road venue would be hard­est to con­quer, rather which side would pose more prob­lems at The Swamp where the Crocs hold a 13-1 win-loss record for the sea­son.

‘‘ Up here in Townsville and Cairns both crowds travel re­ally well be­tween venues so home­court ad­van­tage would be nul­li­fied a lit­tle,’’ Hin­der said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.