Wollongong coach Eric Cooks implored the Hawks to go for the jugular in tonight’s meeting with the Gold Coast Blaze at WIN Entertainment Centre.The fourth-placed Hawks (6-5) have won their past two games and are returning to the court for the first time since beating Cairns on the road on November 1.Gold Coast have struggled from the outset, losing 12 of 13 games, including Wednesday night’s 115-93 thrashing from the Sydney Spirit.Wollongong prevailed by two when they hosted the Blaze on October 24, but they almost blew it after allowing the visitors to overcome a 20-point deficit.While any win will ultimately suffice for the Hawks, Cooks is demanding no letdown from his side.”It’s important if we get them down that we keep them down, because they’ve got a lot of talented players and if you give them a sniff, like anybody in this league they’ll go on with it,” he said.”They definitely didn’t play their best basketball (on Wednesday) so they’ll be looking to salvage some pride, and knowing (Blaze coach) Brendan (Joyce), he’ll get them fired up.”Maybe he rested a few guys knowing he had another encounter, but it’s more about how we’re playing and how we prepare ourselves, and we have to expect a war as usual.”Tonight’s clash features several key match-ups, with former team-mates Kavossy Franklin and Shane Heal locking horns and Mat Campbell guarding long-time rival James Harvey.The Hawks believe they have an edge in the front court over the Blaze.”Our bigs are still somewhat underrated, but they’ve been doing an excellent job and playing very physical,” Cooks said.”They’ve been rebounding very well and we’ve moved up to second in the league in offensive rebounding. That’s got a lot to do with their work rate and shared responsibility, and if that continues it’ll go a long way towards winning.”Despite their long lay-off, the Hawks have trained hard and often over the past 13 days.Cooks was confident his team was “ready to go”.”Our defensive rotations have been really good, our focus has been exceptional and everybody’s buying into the system,” he said.”On offence we’re really sharing the ball. No-one’s putting up a lot more shots than anyone else. It’s about who’s got it going on the night and recognising who’s got the hot hand.”The Hawks are determined to boost their record to 7-5 before finishing the month with road games against Townsville and Adelaide.”It’s still early days, but we need to try and create some space between the top six and the bottom four,” Cooks said. “We’ve been pretty consistent at home and playing fairly well, and the crowds are steadily growing. The momentum is rolling, and there’s a good feeling among the group and the community. This place is our home and we plan on showing the pride and passion we preach about.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.