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The Wollongong Roller Hawks have claimed two important home wins this weekend over the Red Dust Heelers to extend their record to 7-1 and maintain first place on the NWBL ladder.

 Luke Pople vs Red Dust web

The Roller Hawks were ruthless in defence on Saturday night restricting Red Dust to single figure scores in each of the opening three quarters.


There was little Red Dust could do against a determined Wollongong outfit as they managed to shoot just 25% for the game. Their cause was not helped by the absence of player/coach Brad Ness who was forced to sit out the round through injury.


“Defence was our main focus in the week leading into the weekend’s games,” said Roller Hawks captain Brett Stibners at the conclusion of the weekend.


“The team felt for the most part we executed Brendan’s instructions.”


“We still need to be more consistent and that’s our aim leading into our next games.”


Stibners led all scorers with 22 points along with 8 rebounds while Luke Pople (16 points, 6 rebounds), Nick Taylor (12 points, 13 assists) and Michael Auprince (12 points, 7 rebounds) ensured it was a well rounded team performance by the Roller Hawks.


Adam Deans was the only Heeler to score in double figures with 10 points to go with 10 rebounds.


On Sunday the round moved to the traditional home of Illawarra basketball, the Snake Pit and it appeared that while the venue had changed, the narrative had not with Wollongong again restricting Red Dust to single figures in the opening quarter to lead 16-6 at the first break.

The Heelers fought back in the second quarter to be within 3 at half time but the Roller Hawks were determined to close out the weekend in a strong manner and outscored the visitors 37-23 in the second half.

Stibners starred with a triple double with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists while Michael Auprince was the leading scorer with 22 points to go with 8 rebounds.


Roller Hawks coach Brendan Cowler emphasised the importance of consistency after the game.


“Perhaps it was complacency again, but we need to improve our consistency if we are going to compete with the stronger teams in later rounds and if we qualify for the finals,” said Cowler.


“The positive was being able to stop the slide and regain the control we had earlier. It was still comfortable on the scoreboard in the end but we have some work to do to get to the standard needed to compete for the title this year.”


In taking the series against the Red Dust Heelers the Roller Hawks retain the Woolkabunning Kiaka Cup, played in acknowledgement of the work both sides do to encourage inclusion for all people with a disability, particularly indigenous athletes.


The Wollongong Roller Hawks are on the road for the next two rounds, travelling to Brisbane to play the Queensland Spinning Bullets in Round 4 (23-25 July) and then to Adelaide to play the Thunder in Round 5 (1-2 July).


Wollongong’s next round of home games is on 7-9 July against the Perth Wheelcats.




Friday June 23: SPINNING BULLETS vs ROLLER HAWKS - 7pm @ Eagles Sports Complex, Mansfield QLD

Saturday June 24: SPINNING BULLETS vs ROLLER HAWKS - 7pm @ Eagles Sports Complex, Mansfield QLD

Sunday June 25: SPINNING BULLETS vs ROLLER HAWKS - 11am @ Eagles Sports Complex, Mansfield QLD