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The Sureway Wollongong Roller Hawks have emerged with two wins in the side’s closest games of the season so far, outlasting Kilsyth to stay undefeated in the NWBL.



The Roller Hawks got the tough battle they were expecting with the Cobras staying neck and neck with the defending champions for much of the weekend.

Round 2 Saturday Stibners Warm Up

“Kilsyth challenged us in both games and the team played well to overcome a very strong team.” said Roller Hawks coach Brendan Dowler.


Little separated the two sides in Saturday’s game with both sides evenly matched across most statistical categories including Field Goal Percentage: Roller Hawks 56.3% Cobras 57.1%, Assists: Roller Hawks 30 Cobras 29, Turnovers: Roller Hawks 7 Cobras 8, Steals: Roller Hawks 3, Cobras 3 and Fouls: Roller Hawks 13, Cobras 13. At half time, only two points separated the teams.


The difference proved to be rebounding with the Roller Hawks grabbing 34 rebounds to Kilsyth's 24. That included 12 offensive boards compared to the Cobra's 4 which helped Wollongong get 15 more shot attempts than their opponents.


But the Cobras pushed the Roller Hawks the entire way with Wollongong coach Brendan Dowler relying on his starting 5 for the majority of the game. Brett Stibners, Nick Taylor and Nick Scott each played the full 40 minutes with Clay Kelly the only bench player to see any court time (3:34).


“We had a couple of players out and this impacted our rotations. Credit to the players who had to play more minutes than they normally would and against a strong opposition to come away with two wins.”


Leading the way was Brett Stibners with 31 points and 9 rebounds but he was ably assisted by Shawn Russell (19 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists) Nick Taylor (18 points, 8 assists) and Luke Pople (16 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists).

It was a similar story on Sunday morning with just one point separating the two sides at the main break. But the Roller Hawks replied to Shaun Groenewegen’s opening bucket of the second half with a 15-0 run that pushed them beyond Kilsyth’s grasp.


“Our defence wasn’t what it needed to be in the first game and that was reflected in the scoreboard. We focussed on our defence to start the second game and while we reduced their inside scoring from the first game, Kilsyth adjusted and went to their outside shooters.”


“We adjusted our ‘D’ again and credit to the players who executed that well and resulted in a more convincing win.


The Roller Hawks’ strong defence forced Kilsyth into expired shot clocks and bad shot attempts while at the offensive end, the sharp shooting of Nick Taylor (69%) and Brett Stibners (56%) kept the scoreboard ticking over as Shawn Russell worked hard underneath the basket (20 points, 9 rebounds).


Stibners finished the game with a triple double (31 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists) while Taylor finished with a season high 19 points.


“He’s a natural athlete, with an all round game. His stats speak for themselves.” said Dowler of captain Brett Stibners.


“He has been very consistent this year and contributes where the team needs at different times. He can score when we go a bit cold, handle the ball and give out assists, and lead our ‘D’ and pull down rebounds.”


In other results, the Queensland Spinning Bullets and the Perth Wheelcats split their two games while the West Adelaide Thunder have jumped to fourth on the ladder after scoring three wins against the Red Dust Heelers.


The Roller Hawks will now look to Round 4 when they host the Mini-Cluster Round from the 28th to 30th June featuring the Sydney Metro Blue Hornets, Perth Wheelcats and Red Dust Heelers.



Saturday June 15: ROLLER HAWKS 86 def KILSYTH 78

Sunday June 16: ROLLER HAWKS 80 def KILSYTH 61


TEAM (Win = 3 points, Loss = 1 point)




Wollongong Roller Hawks




Perth Wheelcats




Kilsyth Cobras




West Adelaide Thunder




Queensland Spinning Bullets




Sydney Metro Blue Hornets




Red Dust Heelers