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Brendan Dowler laughs when he hears players describe him as having a calm approach to his role as coach of the Sureway Wollongong Roller Hawks. 

Round 2 Saturday Dowler

“It’s nice of them to say I’m calm because I’m not always calm.” says Dowler.


Composed might be a better word to describe his influence from the sideline, one that’s been vital to the club’s success since 2017.


“Brendan coaches the way he played.” says Roller Hawks captain Brett Stibners. “He brings a calmness to the team, when you start to panic, he brings us back down to a level that is suitable to the way we play and he’s got a really good knowledge of the game.” 


Throughout the season Dowler has encouraged his team to be confident without being cocky, something he believes the squad is entitled to be on the back of two straight NWBL titles. 


“It’s important for a coach to exude what you want your players to take back out on the court so if I’m scattered, and I’m a mess in a time out or leading into games then I think that’s going to reflect on the players.”


Shooting guard Nick Taylor lined up alongside Dowler when he was a player and always expected him to move into coaching. 


“Brendo was a really thinking type of player, someone who thinks his way through the game on the floor and it was a pretty natural transition for him to become a coach because he’s got that analytical mindset. He really does bring a different lens to the game that makes us think about what we’re doing.” says Taylor.


Since becoming coach of the Roller Hawks in 2017, Dowler has guided the team to back-to-back national championships and a perfect 15-0 record so far in 2019. While juggling his full time job as an IT manager, the reigning coach of the year is always thinking about the next game plan or piece of information that can help give his side an edge.   


“I love basketball and I love wheelchair basketball so it’s always in the back of my mind to some degree. I do think about the different teams and I pore over the stats a fair bit and try and compare different teams to each other based on the stats.”


“I know a lot of the players and a lot of the teams pretty well because I’ve been around the league for a long time now so even when the new players come in, I can watch them a bit and see what their strengths and weaknesses are.”


“We try to devise a different game plan for different teams. They want to play to their strengths but it’s our goal to take their strengths away and play into ours but ultimately basketball has the same principles and as long as you follow the principles and look after the same things each game then you put yourself in a good position to come away with the right result.”


This weekend the Roller Hawks will be looking to achieve the right result against the Queensland Spinning Bullets in Brisbane. 


“We had a bit of a low key prep for Brisbane, we had a week off after Adelaide.” says Stibners. “I think Brendan could see we were all a bit agitated and needed a bit of a rest.” 


“We’re in a good place sitting on top of the ladder so I thought it was a good opportunity for us to have that week off to re-energise ourselves and come back strong for this weekend.” says Dowler.


The Roller Hawks defeated West Adelaide 78-44 and 81-32 in Round 5.


“There’s certain teams that we match up well against and perhaps Adelaide was one of those teams where we know we can match up well against them and we probably weren’t playing at our peak but that’s the sign of a good team, we weren’t playing well but we still had a comfortable win.“


The Spinning Bullets currently sit in 6th place, three points behind 4th placed Sydney, but with games in hand, are well poised to take a run at a finals berth. 


While fourth spot won’t be settled until Queensland and Sydney play in the last round of the regular season, snatching a win against the competition front runners will be a major boost for their chances and confidence.


“They’ve got a very fast team, a very young team and they’ve got a very deep bench too so three games in basically 48 hours, it’s going to be a tough push.” says Stibners.


“A lot of outside shooting, they don’t have Bill (Latham) this year, he was a real interior threat, they don’t really have that now but they’ve got very good chair skills, very fast.” 

Round 8’s other match up will be a battle for second place when the Kilsyth Cobras travel to Perth to take on the Wheelcats. Two wins to the Wheelcats will sew up a top two finish and a second chance in the finals while two wins to the Cobras will put them in the box seat to leapfrog Perth when they play the last placed Red Dust in the final round of the season. 





Friday July 26: ROLLER HAWKS vs SPINNING BULLETS - 6pm @ Southern District Basketball Association, QLD

Saturday July 27: ROLLER HAWKS vs SPINNING BULLETS - 2:30pm @ Southern District Basketball Association, QLD

Sunday July 28: ROLLER HAWKS vs SPINNING BULLETS - 10am @ Southern District Basketball Association, QLD