Wollongong Rollerhawks v Sydney Metro Blues- Friday 31st May @6pm
Wollongong Rollerhawks v Sydney Metro Blues- Saturday 1st June @10am
Sydney Metro Blues v Wollongong Rollerhawks- Sunday 2nd June @9.30am
In their chase for a three-peat, Wollongong got off to the perfect start in Round 1 with four consecutive victories while winning by an average margin of 32 points.
Sydney Metro should also be pleased with their weekend having won three games and that sets up an intriguing battle with the Rollerhawks across three contests in Round 2.
Both sides showcased impressive offences but the Blues will have to prove themselves against Wollongong who owned the best defence of any club as well, surrendering just 46 points per game.
Round 1 Player of the Week, CJ McCarthy-Grogan will have a major role to play after recording 28.3 points per game but import Jorge Salazar as well as Anderson Parker are more than capable contributors at that end of the floor as well.
It will be interesting to see if Maryanne Latu hits the court as well, coming off a silver medal winning performance at the Under-25 World Championships earlier this week where she started every game.
The Rollerhawks’ offensive efficiency was the difference-maker a fortnight ago as they had three players average double-figures in scoring.
The Blues were able to match that but the trio of Brett Stibners, Shawn Russell and Luke Pople all shot over 54%.
Stibners was on fire from distance too, knocking down 11 three-pointers to lead the competition while he and Pople added seven assists per game each to help bring the likes of Nick Taylor and Brad Fisher into the games.
Sydney Metro’s perimeter defence will have to be at its best to minimise the three-point damage but they will also need to penetrate Wollongong’s wall to hand them their first loss of 2019.
Perth Wheelcats v West Adelaide Thunder- Friday 31st May @7pm
Perth Wheelcats v West Adelaide Thunder- Saturday 1st June @7pm
Perth Wheelcats v West Adelaide Thunder- Sunday 2nd June @8am
Perth looked to be on a mission in Round 1, recording three wins to sit second on the ladder as they aim to bounce back from missing the playoffs last year.
They only fell to Wollongong (by 19 points) but picked up an important win over Sydney Metro while also defeating Kilsyth and Queensland to state their intentions on a return to the top four in 2019.
Defence was still a concern for the Wheelcats though, giving up 68 points per game which was second worst in the league across Round 1 and 14 points more than the average for the other top-four teams.
That will give West Adelaide confidence that they can get the better of Perth on the road and they will also be buoyed by their win over Queensland a fortnight ago.
With just seven players hitting the court for all four games, West Adelaide also got within eight points of Kilsyth and that determination and grit will hold them in good stead for season 2019.
Adam Roocke paced them with 12.3 points per game and Eamon Wood added 12 points while Jay Dohnt (nine points, 8.3 rebounds) fell just short of a double-double average and Phil Stephens recorded 6.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists.
That is a healthy spread of contributors and Sam White’s return to Australia after another season in the USA will be a bonus too but the firepower of Shaun Norris (23.3 points, 12 assists), the strength of Michael Auprince in the paint (23 points, 10.3 rebounds) and the form of Amber Merritt who had 12.8 points per game at 49% shooting in Round 1 still places Perth as favourites going into this weekend.
Kilsyth Cobras v Queensland Spinning Bullets- Friday 31st May @6pm
Kilsyth Cobras v Queensland Spinning Bullets- Saturday 1st June @3pm
Kilsyth Cobras v Queensland Spinning Bullets- Sunday 2nd June @11.30am
Based off a small sample size in Round 1, Kilsyth and Queensland look like they could be fighting it out for one of the final spots in the top four all season long.
The Cobras bookended their weekend with victories over Red Dust and West Adelaide but could not get past Wollongong and Perth while Queensland picked up their lone win over Red Dust while just falling to Sydney Metro and West Adelaide.
The past two seasons has seen Kilsyth impress during the regular season before stumbling in the playoffs and while they will be desperate to turn that form around, they may face a tougher fight to get to the post-season in 2019.
Banking up wins at home is the first step towards that success after they owned a 7-1 record at Kilsyth last year but Queensland will be aiming to recreate their efforts on the road from 2018 when they went 8-2 through the regular season to help them finish on top of the ladder.
A wealth of contributors helped them to that record and they showed their depth again a fortnight ago with Dylan Gawthorne and Kurt Thomson adding 11.8 points per game each while three others scored at least five points per contest.
The Cobras were able to match that number though, with Tristan Knowles (28.8 points per game) pacing them.
Fellow Roller Tom O’Neill-Thorne will make his 2019 debut for Queensland this weekend to help negate the influence of Knowles but Kilsyth have a couple of handy additions themselves with Jontee Brown and Shaun Groenewegen back in the line-up.