• Register

The Roller Hawks have gone 3-0 to sit in top of the ladder after Round 1 as coach Brendan Dowler praises the sides ability to find a way to win.




A huge 27-8 fourth quarter from the Roller Hawks has seen the side storm to victory over the defending champions after trailing for the entire game. The Roller Hawks trailed 50-61 at the final change and after missing their opening 4 shots to begin the fourth period, it appeared a comeback was unlikely.


With 7:35 remaining, Wollongong began to make inroads starting with a Nick Taylor field goal which sparked a 17-4 run and brought the two sides level with 3:37 to play.


Captain Brett Stibners gave the Roller Hawks their first lead of the game with with 2:17 to play before stretching the lead to 4 after Taylor forced a turnover at the other end of the floor.


Kilsyth called a timeout but couldn’t execute on the next play with Tristan Knowles missing a three point attempt which Wollongong took full advantage of with an easy two to Michael Auprince.


Luke Pople put the game beyond reach with less than a minute to play before Stibners landed two more points of his own to give the final scoreline.


“We weren’t playing how we know we can play, we were playing into their hands,” said Pople.


“We just need to do the basic things correctly. We can’t go off and do our individual thing, we have to work as a team.”


“We got the ball to the people where they need it in the right spots and we knocked down the shots.”


Brett Stibners lead all scores with 26 points with Pople playing the full 40 minutes and scoring 22 points and 7 assists.


Michael Auprince was a monster on the boards grabbing 14 rebounds to go with 13 points while Nick Taylor had 13 points and 15 assists.



The Roller Hawks found themselves on the other end of a fourth quarter fight back in their second game of the round with the Red Dust Heelers outscoring Wollongong 17-9 in the final period.


After an even first quarter that saw Wollongong lead 12-11, the hosts exploded in the second quarter, outscoring Red Dust 21-12.


Michael Auprince scored 8 of his 10 points in second period to help open up a 33-23 advantage at halftime and the Roller Hawks’ rotation of low pointers including Tim Markcrow, Hannah Dodd and Nick Scott created plenty of headaches in defence for the opposition.


The Roller Hawks remained in control through the beginning of the second half and had seemingly “put the cue in the rack” going into the last quarter only for Red Dust to begin their fight back.


The Heelers worked hard in defence and at the offensive end, Brad Ness started to heat up. After scoring just 7 points in the first three quarters, Ness scored 8 of his side’s 12 points to level the scores at 45 all with 3:20 to play.


Neither side could break the deadlock until Nick Taylor landed a shot with 1:33 to play only for Ness to respond the very next play to again tie the game.


The Roller Hawks kept their poise with Luke Pople sinking a shot with 45 seconds to play before a turnover by Red Dust gave possession back to the Roller Hawks. Having made the final pass on the Roller Hawks previous two baskets, Brett Stibners went himself, sinking his shot and drawing a foul for the ‘and 1’. Stibners calmly sunk the free throw to ensure his side got the win.  



The Roller Hawks’ final game saw the side cruise to an easy victory over the new kids back on the block, the Adelaide Thunder. After 3 years out of the league the Thunder had spent the weekend getting a taste of what it was like to compete at the elite level.


The Roller Hawks took control early allowing coach Brendan Dowler to use 12 players throughout the contest.


Clay Kelly showed the progress in his game logging over 20 minutes off the bench and pulling down 8 rebounds.


“Being the first round everyone is going to be a bit scrappy,” said Pople.


“Overall we got three out of three wins and that’s what we came here to do. Everyone got up to date with our shape so all round it was a good weekend.”


Coach Brendan Dowler was pleased with his side’s three wins but will expect improvement over the coming weeks knowing that other sides will also get better.


“In all three games, we found a way to win,” said Dowler.


“It was a great hit out, they were very strong opposition playing last year’s champions first up and then another strong team (Red Dust). We came away with three wins so we can’t ask for more than that.”


The Roller Hawks were the only team to go undefeated throughout the weekend. Kilsyth, Perth and Queensland each won two out of three games. Sydney, who failed to win a game last year were the surprise packet with 2 wins from 4 games while Perth registered just one win from 4 games and Adelaide, in their return to the NWBL, lost all four of their matches.



Friday May 26: ROLLER HAWKS vs SYDNEY METRO BLUES - 7pm @ Shellharbour City Stadium

Saturday May 27: ROLLER HAWKS vs SYDNEY METRO BLUES - 7pm @ Shellharbour City Stadium

Sunday May 28: SYDNEY METRO BLUES vs ROLLER HAWKS - 11am @ Minto Indoor Sports Centre