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A 51 point personal haul from captain Brett Stibners in Saturday night’s game against the Red Dust Heelers was the cherry on top of a brilliant weekend for the Sureway Wollongong Roller Hawks who won all four of their games to remain undefeated in NWBL 2019.  


Stibners’ brilliant shooting thrilled the Shellharbour crowd but it was of little surprise to the man himself who boldly, if only half jokingly predicted he’d get 50 before the game.  

Brett Stibners 1 resize

“I wasn’t shooting well during the weekend and I said to ‘Huss’ (Shawn Russell) I’m going to score 50 and his reply was just make sure you make one basket and then I started shooting alright and Red Dust weren’t jumping so I kept shooting,” said Stibners.


Stibners shot 22 from 29 including 7 from 9 from beyond the three point arc to register his highest score since games were reduced from 48 minutes to 40. Stibners had previously scored 59, twice under the 48 minute format.


It was a rare solo performance by the Roller Hawks’ captain who usually prides himself on leading a team that shares the ball and gets everyone involved. 


While Stibners was the star attraction in Saturday night’s game and the Roller Hawks won both their games against Red Dust comfortably, it was team basketball that secured two crucial wins against second placed Perth in the side’s other matchups of the weekend.


In the teams’ first game on Saturday morning, the two sides battled hard in the first half with the Wheelcats leading their hosts 39-35 at half time. But a 20-13 third quarter swung momentum back the Roller Hawks’ way with the Wheelcats’ main attacking threats unable to break down the Wollongong defence with the home side running out 76-67.  


Scores were neck and neck through the first quarter of Sunday’s game as well with the sides locked at 19 all after the first quarter but the Wheetcats’ struggled against the Roller Hawks’ defence in the second period with Perth committing 4 turnovers, 2 shot clock violations and only shooting 3 from 12. From there fatigue kicked in for the Wheelcats who were only fielding 6 players throughout the weekend with the Roller Hawks securing a 76-60 win to move 8 points clear at the top of the ladder. 


“It was important to get good games against Perth, we really needed to shut down Auprince and Shaun (Norris) or at least to shut down one. Shaunie got some points today but you can’t win a game with one person scoring all the points,” said Stibners.


“At times during the weekend we were a bit stagnant, just wheeled into spots and let the games come to us. In the last two games we really pushed hard and we got rewarded for it and I think we got rewarded for it.”


While disappointed with losing two games to Wollongong, Wheelcats’ captain Shaun Norris is still confident his side is capable of beating the defending champions.


“I think absolutely we can beat them. Obviously it has to be on our day, we can’t come into the game complacent. We’ve got to go home after this weekend, have a look at some video and make some adjustments.”


“This weekend was always going to be difficult for us considering we only have 6 players and we have a lot of injuries and the girls away for Australian duties.” 


While Perth were unable to beat Wollongong they did emerge from the weekend with two wins over Sydney Metro Blue Hornets who in turn secured two wins over the Red Dust Heelers with French import Sofyane Mehiaoui making a positive impact on his new side.


“We’ve had Sofyane come into the team so it was a bit of an adjustment getting that gel with a new player, understanding how he plays, and how he can fit into the team,” says Sydney captain Rhys Baxter.


“He’s a fantastic player, very quick and very agile but they play a very different style over in the European league so he’s had to very quickly pick up what we do.”


The Red Dust Heelers were the only team not to secure a win but enjoyed the weekend nonetheless.


“This year is all about development for us, we’ve got a very young group and a very inexperienced group. We came in with our own goals and even though we didn’t get a win, we achieved what we wanted to achieve.”    


In the league’s other match up, the Queensland Spinning Bullets accounted for the West Adelaide Thunder in their two games.  The Roller Hawks travel to Adelaide in Round 5 to meet the Thunder from 6th-7th July.



Friday June 28: WHEELCATS 90 def  BLUE HORNETS 65

Friday June 28: ROLLER HAWKS 73 def RED DUST HEELERS 42


Saturday June 29: ROLLER HAWKS 76 def WHEELCATS 67

Saturday June 29: BLUE HORNETS 69 def RED DUST HEELERS 59 

Saturday June 29: ROLLER HAWKS 87 def RED DUST HEELERS 35 

Saturday June 29: WHEELCATS 75 def BLUE HORNETS 57 


Sunday June 30: ROLLER HAWKS 76 def WHEELCATS 60

Sunday June 30: BLUE HORNETS 72 def RED DUST HEELERS 54

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




Wollongong Roller Hawks




Perth Wheelcats




Sydney Metro Blue Hornets




West Adelaide Thunder




Queensland Spinning Bullets




Kilsyth Cobras




Red Dust Heelers