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Old foes re-engage when the Sureway Wollongong Roller Hawks travel to Melbourne this weekend to take on the Kilsyth Cobras in round three of the National Wheelchair Basketball League.

Round 2 Saturday Russell Traffic

The Roller Hawks will fly out a day early on Friday to ensure optimum preparation time against a side brimming with current and past Australian representative talent including the league’s leading points scorer and former Roller Hawk, Tristan Knowles.


“It’s always a tough trip down to Melbourne and I think it’s going to be cold so that won’t suit us at all coming from sunny Wollongong but we’ll be out there giving it our best.” says Roller Hawks coach Brendan Dowler. “We expect to compete well and we expect to come back with two wins if we play to our potential.”


One player who knows Kilsyth better than most is Shawn Russell. The Farmborough Heights local spent 5 years at Kilsyth before returning to Wollongong last season and whilst he’s played against the Cobras several times since returning to the Roller Hawks, this weekend will be his first time playing them on their home court.


“Playing back at Kilysth is going to be awesome, they usually get a good crowd in and it will be good to see a few friends we made up there come and hopefully cheer me instead of the Kilsyth guys.” says Russell.


Russell will be celebrating his 32nd birthday on Saturday, but the birthday boy isn’t expecting his former teammates to gift him an easy win.


“Definitely tough competition that’s for sure. Their starting 5 is still a great team, still very competitive. It’s not going to be a pushover and it’s always good facing those guys, we have a good grudge match going on there.”


“I know they’ll love the opportunity to rub something in my face and so do I to them.”

Playing against his former teammates holds no problems for the high pointer.


“I feel comfortable playing against them. Because we trained together all the time you’re just used to playing with them so you know all their movements, what they’re going to do and you kind of predict it.”


The Cobras will present a new challenge for the Roller Hawks who had three comfortable wins against Sydney in round two.  The Cobras emerged victorious in a series of close matches against the Queensland Spinning Bullets to sit in third position on the ladder with 5 wins and 2 losses.


The Roller Hawks won by an average margin of 33.3 points per game in round two but despite this,  Dowler says there’s still areas where the team can improve.


“There was some little patches through the games where we didn’t play defence properly, we let them get the offensive boards, let them get the second shot and gave them a bit of momentum, then we had to fight back to get the momentum back our way again.”


“In the last game we had a period where we gave up a heap of turnovers in a row which isn’t what we’re renowned for doing, it isn’t what we want to do.”


“I think trying to maintain composure and keep your head in it and follow the instructions for ‘Brendo’ and follow them through. I think we let ourselves down a bit last weekend, I know personally I did.” adds Russell.


“Just stick to the game plan and the processes take care of the result.”



Saturday June 15: KILSYTH COBRAS vs ROLLER HAWKS - 3pm @ Kilsyth Stadium, Melbourne


Sunday June 16: KILSYTH COBRAS vs ROLLER HAWKS - 9:30am @  Kilsyth Stadium, Melbourne