Cougars NBL1 West Men’s Season Preview

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The Cockburn Cougars men made the playoffs last year, won a final and now will look to build on that further in the 2022 NBL1 West season starting this Friday night.

The 2022 campaign for the Cougars begins on Friday against the East Perth Eagles at Wally Hagan Stadium, and there is every reason to come into the new with high hopes of what this Cockburn team will be capable of.

The Cougars have added two exciting imports to the group for 2022 in the form of Carter Skaggs and Paschal Chukwu with both of them in town and settled in time for the season opener against the Eagles on Friday night.

With inspirational captain Gavin Field back on deck along with Seva Chan, Matthew Clifford, Riley Eves, Josh Hunt, Noah Stewart, Jake Harris, Jarrod Holmes, Nathan Pond and Daniel Rogers, there’s plenty to be excited about with this Cockburn team of 2022.

While reigning MVP Nic Pozoglou won’t be back and Ben Henshall and Alex Kovatchev are at the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence, Cockburn has every reason to like the group coming together.

Looking back to last season for the Cougars men, it was a rough start losing nine of the opening 11 games to see that playoff dream slipping away. However, they didn’t give up hope and strung some tremendous form together in the back end of the season.

After slipping to 2-9, the Cougars were able to string six wins together to put themselves back in the hunt before back-to-back losses to the Lakeside Lightning and Joondalup Wolves.

However, from there they didn’t lose again in the regular season with wins over the Geraldton Buccaneers, Perth Redbacks and South West Slammers enough to finish at 11-11 and secure a playoff spot.

It was then quite the grind out elimination battle with the Mandurah Magic that the Cougars lost in devastating fashion 63-62, but they will now be looking to build on what they did in 2022.

On top of the playing stocks, coach Andrew Cooper is locked in for the long-term in charge as well and for him, it just allows him to go about his business of coaching the team and building for success right now, and for the future knowing that his time in charge is locked away.

“It’s exciting to know the club has full faith in the direction we are going and the work the athletes and coaches are doing,” Cooper said.

“We are starting to see it all come together and the future of this program is building and we are looking forward to how that comes together this year and beyond. Cockburn is the basketball home for my whole family and it’s great to be able to continue that with this group and this club.”

Cockburn’s season begins at home on Friday night against East Perth before an Easter Thursday traditional clash with the Willetton Tigers on the road in Round 2.

It’s then a road trip to Eaton to take on the South West Slammers in Round 3 on the Saturday night before hosting the Goldfields Giants that Sunday afternoon.

It’s then a trip to Geraldton to face the Buccs on Saturday April 30 before finally a return to Wally Hagan Stadium to play Kyle Armour, Jay Bowie and Ray Turner from the Mandurah Magic.

A week late and the Cougars play the Perth Redbacks at Belmont Oasis before taking on Devondrick Walker and the Rockingham Flames on Saturday May 21.

It’s a return home on Saturday May 28 to host the Redbacks before a first match up with Julian Pesava and the Joondalup Wolves at HBF Arena on Saturday June 11.

A day later the Cougars host the Buccaneers before on Friday June 17 it’s a trip to Mandurah to take on the Magic.

Eight days later and Cockburn is at home to the Lakeside Lightning before another game at Wally Hagan Stadium a week later up against the Wolfpack.

It’s a third straight home match on Friday July 8 against the defending champion Perry Lakes Hawks before a road game to Lakeside seven days after.

Cockburn then hosts Rockingham on Saturday July 16 before taking on the new-look Eastern Suns at Ray Owen Sports Centre the following Saturday night.

It’s then a trip to Warwick Stadium to play the Senators under the coaching of Luke Brennan on Friday July 29 before a home game with the Slammers the following night.

Second last round is a trip to Kalgoorlie to face the Giants before the regular season closes at home to the Willetton Tigers on Friday August 12.