Perth Wildcats coach Rob Beveridge will write a regular column for thewest.com.au during the NBL season.
To me, last week was just so outstanding that we could bounce back after three losses in-a-row to put in a performance like we did against New Zealand and then back it up in Townsville.
It was an incredible week in the sense that I truly believe that the eight weeks of travel that we had started to take a toll on our players, probably mentally more so than physically. We got in a little bit of a hole and when you lose games you do lose confidence.
Then to turn it around and play an incredible game like we did against New Zealand shows that we definitely can win a championship.
Then it was a case of backing it up travelling 12 hours the next day on little to no sleep. It was such a courageous effort to go and beat Townsville. Yes it got ugly, but we always felt like we were in control particularly from a defensive perspective.
We are spluttering offensively, but the courage these players have shown under adversity is great to see. It's easy to sit back and say how hard it is, but until somebody walks in your shoes they shouldn’t be critical of our performances, they should be ecstatic with how good we went.
Townsville had the momentum in the last couple of minutes, but I just felt that we had the ability to stop them. We are doing that so well at the moment to hold teams to low scores. I don’t necessarily like playing that way and I hate those arm-wrestle types of games, but sometimes that's what you have to do and under our current schedule it was an amazing performance.
Brad Robbins' finger injury was extremely nasty. It's as bad as I've ever seen. I've never seen a finger dislocate like that where the bone was hanging out. It was really bad and he ended up getting seven stitches in it as well. Obviously he will definitely be out this week.
In the last minute against Townsville Matty Knight got some cramps in his calf, which now has turned out to be a small tear. That's going to sideline him for a few weeks now so losing those two players is going to make it a really tough stretch for us now.
We've shown in the past that with injuries it gives other players opportunities. A couple of years ago there was a period when we had Shawn Redhage, Jesse Wagstaff and Knight all out at the same time, but what we encourage is that one of your comrades is down hurt that everyone must lift.
Not only will Redhage, Wagstaff and Jeremiah Trueman have to lift without Matty, but I expect more from Hire as well and everyone on the team. We will bring in the development players and that gives an opportunity to Michael Vigor to see if he's a legitimate NBL player.
Now we move onto Sydney this Friday night and Shane Heal has done a tremendous job at this stage with that team. He has called them the 'Road Warriors' - think we are doing OK in that department ourselves - but he has them playing hard and they've got a belief in themselves.
With their road wins they are going to come over here thinking they have a shot, which maybe they do, but hopefully defensively we can get job the done. Ben Madgen is now going to have to be defended by Damian Martin. He has probably been close to the MVP of the league so far, but he hasn’t been defended by anyone like Damo.
There will be some mismatches especially with them having a seven-footer in Ian Crosswhite and I don’t know how we are going to match up on him yet, but it goes both ways – we will be a bit smaller and more mobile so they have to defend us.
Our second game at the Perth Arena last Thursday was great. The first game it was completely foreign to us and it was to Adelaide as well, but they had zero pressure on them and they took advantage of that. We got that out of the way and we were a completely different team against New Zealand.
We do feel more comfortable there now and it was just incredible to have over 11,000 people there in both games to support us. We know that this is our home court and I know Perth will get behind us, and right now this is where we need them. We are down, we are hurt and we need Perth to get behind us right now.
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