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The Roller Hawks’ National Wheelchair Basketball League (NWBL) title defence tips off on Friday when the side travels to Perth for the league’s season opening cluster round.

All seven teams will converge on Mandurah Basketball Stadium in Western Australia where each team will play up to four games in three days.


“It’s going to be a real test to see how fit we are and how switched on we are and probably how mentally strong we are early in the season,” says Roller Hawks coach Brendan Dowler.


The Roller Hawks begin their season against last year’s wooden spooners - Adelaide Thunder. It was the Thunder’s first year back in the NWBL last year and with a season of top flight experience now under their belt the South Australian side will be looking to prove they belong.


On Saturday the Roller Hawks take on home side the Perth Wheelcats. As if home court advantage isn’t enough, the Wheelcats, usually perennial finals contenders, will be looking to atone for last season where they missed the playoffs entirely. Wollongong must then back up against the league’s other West Australian based side, the Red Dust Heelers who have acquired American import and 3 time Paralympian, Josh Turek.


The Roller Hawks complete their weekend with a match up against the Queensland Spinning Bullets. The Bullets were one of the surprise teams of 2017 by making the playoffs and although they fell to Sydney in the semi final, they managed to spring an upset against defending champions Kilsyth in the bronze medal play off.


While it’s a cliche, guard Luke Pople expects a challenge, no matter the opponent.


“Everyone’s going to be tough, not many teams have changed, they’re all got the same (line-ups) and everyone’s going to give us a run for our money,” says Pople.

The Roller Hawks will take 9 players to Perth with player management critical as the team plays 4 games in 36 hours.


“We need to come out strong in each game and control the game and if we can control the game from the first quarter then we’ll be able to rotate our players much more easily,” says Dowler.



Friday March 16: ROLLER HAWKS vs ADELAIDE THUNDER - 5:00pm @ Mandurah Basketball Stadium, WA

Saturday March 17: ROLLER HAWKS vs PERTH WHEELCATS - 9:00am @ Mandurah Basketball Stadium

Saturday March 17: ROLLER HAWKS vs RED DUST HEELERS - 1:00pm @ Mandurah Basketball Stadium

Sunday March 18: ROLLER HAWKS vs QLD SPINNING BULLETS - 9:00am @ Mandurah Basketball Stadium