Saturday, April 28, 2012

Wildcats ready to pounce on grand final berth

Corbin Middlemas, Gold Coast

Updated April 04, 2012 17:12:45

The Perth Wildcats will try to ignore the lagging effects of a horror road trip tonight as they attempt to become the first team through to the NBL's grand final series.

Having taken game one from the Blaze on Sunday, victory tonight on the Gold Coast would ensure direct entry to the NBL's showcase series, while the hosts face sudden death elimination.

Flight problems at Perth Airport delayed the Wildcats over three hours, as their scheduled flight to the Gold Coast (via Sydney) was cancelled at short notice.

The team later boarded a connecting flight to Melbourne, before eventually arriving on the glitter strip after midnight on the morning of the game.

But Perth coach Rob Beveridge was not concerned about any potential impact it may have on his chargers.

"When we found out the flight was cancelled, it's just shrug the shoulders, alright boys, we got in late last night but that's the way it is," he said.

Perth trained strongly this morning at the team's shoot around as they ran through final set play scenarios.

"The guys seem very focussed and very switched on," Beveridge said.

"I think tonight we've got to play edgy and I think we're at our best when we're that way because we know the Gold Coast are going to throw everything at us. It's make or break for them tonight."

The Wildcats took a squad of 11 to the Gold Coast, all of whom made it through the session.

Jeremiah Trueman stood out of Perth's five-on-five drills and is expected to be the unlucky 11th man on the roster.

Mark Worthington was fouled out in game one and was held to just eight points.

The Australian representative will be pivotal for the Blaze if they are to keep the series alive, with Beveridge expecting Worthington to bounce back.

"I suspect that he'll get 15-20 shots tonight. I think he's their best player with [Adam] Gibson and [Adris] DeLeon," Beveridge said.

"He didn't get too many open looks the other night and he was a bit shitty about that.

"It's not often Mark Worthington plays two average games in a row. This is do or die for them, so we have to make sure we're switched on with him."

Gibson has been hampered by an ongoing calf injury over the past month which restricted him to just 18 minutes in game one.

The Boomers guard has also been troubled with his long range shooting of late, hitting just 7 of his past 37 three-point attempts.

All indications on the Gold Coast is he will be more prevalent on court in game two.

The Blaze have an impressive 10-2 record this season at the Gold Coast Convention Centre, including two wins against the 'Cats, while Perth boast the best travelling record in the NBL, 9-5.

Listen to tonight's semi-final on Grandstand Digital from 7:30pm EST, or via streaming online.

Tags: nbl, basketball, sport, southport-4215, perth-6000, wa, qld, australia

First posted April 04, 2012 17:05:45

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