The Wollongong Hawks defeated the Melbourne Tigers 90-66 at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre on Sunday in their second straight pre-season match-up. While the game was close early, the Hawks slowly stretched the gap and once clear, didn’t look back.
Wollongong’s ball movement was crisp, sharp, precise and frankly just too quick for Melbourne’s new line up who struggled with defensive rotations throughout. Leading scorers for the Hawks’ were Tyson Demos and Oscar Forman who both caused Melbourne problems on the penetration. If they weren’t scoring, they were finding open shooters.
It was a solid team effort from Wollongong who had four players in double-digits with two more knocking on the door. Although significantly out-sized, the Hawks used their speed and ball movement to keep Melbourne guessing. It was a solid strategy against such a newly formed team.
For Melbourne there were more negatives than positives in this one, which is to be expected in such lop-sided loss. The Tigers looked disorganised at both ends, which resulted in turnovers on offense and gaping holes on defense. Head Coach Chris Anstey tried multiple line-ups during the game, seemingly still looking for his preferred rotation.
Before anyone lights their tribal torches looking for a sacrifice, they must realise the Tigers were playing only their second game as a complete unit. There were plenty of teething issues and a lot of room for improvement but things will settle in to some rhythm. New acquisition Chris Goulding was rested with shoulder soreness so the Tigers still have plenty of options.
Positives from the game for Melbourne included Matt Burston’s rebounding, Liam Rush’s shooting, Lucas Walker’s relentless hustle, Nate Tomlinson’s speed and Adam Ballinger’s mid-range game. A lot of nice individual elements that need moulding into a system.
Coach Anstey, over to you.