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A poor shooting display from the Kilsyth Cobras has seen the Wollongong Roller Hawks defeat the defending champions 76-50 on Saturday night before to two sides fought out a nailing biting game on Sunday which ultimately saw the Cobras emerge victorious 72-69.

On Saturday, Wollongong defeated the Cobras for the second time this season after limiting the visitors to just 6 points in the third quarter.




In the lead up to the match, Roller Hawks coach Jim Williams spoke of the importance of restricting the Cobras’ Tristan Knowles who sits second in the league for points per game, but neither the coach or the players could’ve anticipated Knowles’ off night with the Australian representative landing just 3 from 18 shot attempts (17%).


Overall the Cobras shot just 33% from the field, were outrebounded (37-27), and could not match the ball distribution of the Roller Hawks with the home side registering 23 assists to the Cobras’ 10.


Leading the way for Wollongong was Brett Stibners who came close to a triple double with 28 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists with Luke Pople scoring 16 points and Nick Taylor and Michael Auprince scoring 14 points each.


“They had an off night,” said Williams straight after the game. “We’ll have to be ready for them tomorrow, they don’t put two bad performances together.”


The Roller Hawks got off to a fast start in the return match on Sunday, racing to a 7-0 lead to start the game and held an 8 point advantage at quarter time. The Cobras fought back in the second quarter thanks to their bench with Shaun Groenewegan, Michael D’Amelio and Brian Carminati combining for 15 of their side’s 23 points to help Kilsyth be up 41-40 at halftime.

The Roller Hawks wrestled back the lead in the third to have a 1 points advantage going into the final period but the Cobras were too strong in the dying minutes with Joshua Allison sinking two clutch free throws to put the game beyond Wollongong’s reach.


Michael Auprince top scored for the Roller Hawks with 23 points and 12 rebounds, his second double double of the weekend.


“We played really well on Saturday night, limiting their opportunities to score easily,” said Auprince.


“Tristan Knowles is one of the most lethal players I have ever seen. He will probably never go that cold again.”


The Roller Hawks are the only team to defeat Kilsyth this season and have now done it twice. It bodes well for when the finals commence.


“I think we match up really well,” said Auprince. “If we meet them in the final or in the semi final, it will be a tough game. We got two wins on them in the regular season so if we do play them, I favour us.”


The final round of the NWBL season is in a fortnight's time and sees the Roller Hawks travel to Sydney for three games against cellar dwellers, the Sydney Metro Blues.


Round 8 will also see a top of the table clash between the Perth Wheelcats and the Kilsyth Cobras. The results of those two games could have an impact on where the Roller Hawks finish on the ladder.


Wollongong could possibly finish second which would give them a second chance come the semi finals.

Friday June 10: SYDNEY METRO BLUES vs ROLLER HAWKS - 5pm @ Menai Sports Stadium

Saturday June 11: SYDNEY METRO BLUES vs ROLLER HAWKS - 12:30pm @ Minto Indoor Sports Stadium


Sunday June 12: SYDNEY METRO BLUES vs ROLLER HAWKS - 11am @ Minto Indoor Sports Stadium