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The Sureway Wollongong Roller Hawks have suffered their first loss in almost three years at the hands of Queensland after a hotly contested weekend at Shellharbour City Stadium.

 Stibners Round 2

Darwin, Perth and Queensland all took it to the defending champions with the Roller Hawks edging out Darwin by 4, Perth by 5 and going down by 2 to Queensland.


After a back and forth contest on Sunday afternoon, Wollongong pulled away to lead by 8 with 3:34 before the Spinning Bullets charged back through new recruit Michael Auprince. 


Auprince and Jordan Bartley hit their shots down the stretch while the Roller Hawks couldn’t close out the game.


“We know what we need to work on,” says Roller Hawks captain Brett Stibners. 


“We were lucky against Perth to get over the line and there was some silly mistakes in the end by us (against Queensland) that gave them the win, but they played very well, Jordan Bartley shot the absolute you know what out of it, Auprince was brilliant as well so we’ve got a lot to take out of this weekend which is positive.”


While the first loss in three years is exaggerated due to COVID cancelled and abandoned seasons, it still brings an end to an 18 game winning streak which began after a loss, also to Queensland, at home in 2019.


Despite going down, coach Brendan Dowler was positive following the weekend that still sees the Roller Hawks on top of the ladder with a 5-1 record.


“A close win or a close loss doesn’t mean all that much at this stage of the season, we’re still in a good position but it really does demonstrate, if we weren’t sure before we’re definitely sure now, if we don’t do the things we should do, we don’t execute we won’t get the result,” says Dowler.


“Credit to the opposition, they have their full strength teams now and they’re challenging us and with a condensed league each team is a little bit stronger than they’ve been in previous seasons we’ve had, pre COVID.”


“Losing the last one gives us a kick up the backside that if we don’t do the things we should do then we won’t get the result that we want.”


The Roller Hawks are ready to learn more from the loss than a win.


“He (Coach Dowler) wasn’t totally unhappy with the way we went, we’ve got some stuff to work on and we’ll turn up to training and work on that.” says Stibners.


With Wollongong, Perth and Queensland all emerging from the weekend with two wins and a loss and Darwin still waiting for the return of Tom O’Neill-Thorne, the league has never been more wide open.


“It will be who plays the best on Finals weekend, who wins the competition,” says Stibners.









Wollongong Roller Hawks






Perth Wheelcats






Queensland Spinning Bullets






Darwin Salties