Both Cockburn Cougars teams put their winning streaks on the line this Friday night in the NBL1 West against the East Perth Eagles at Herb Graham Recreation Centre.
The Cougars are just in action on Friday night in Round 12 of the NBL1 West season and that means a trip to Mirrabooka to take on the Eagles. The women’s match up begins at 6.30pm before the men’s clash tips off at 8.30pm.
The Cockburn Cougars women added in Patty Brossmann for the two wins last weekend to remain the sole undefeated team in the NBL1 West leading into this Friday night’s clash with a dangerous East Perth Eagles.
Cockburn had two challenging match ups going back to Round 11 but took full advantage of a wounded Mandurah Magic on Friday night at Wally Hagan Stadium to win 84-63.
They then backed up on Saturday night against the Warwick Senators at Warwick Stadium in what proved quite the eventful and dramatic match up against the defending NBL1 West and National Champions.
Cockburn came up with the big plays late to secure the 75-73 win to now improve to a perfect 12-0 record heading into this Friday night’s match up with the 5-11 Eagles at Herb Graham Recreation Centre.
While the Cougars put their winning streak on the line on Friday night, it’s a crucial game as well for East Perth as they fight for a playoff position.
The Eagles currently sit in ninth position as they try and chase down to the Lakeside Lightning (5-9) in eighth spot and Warwick Senators (6-6) in seventh raising the stakes for the contest on Friday night.
With an in-form back court led by Sylwia Bujniak and Sarah Allen and then the potential of captain Maddie Allen returning and with good role players Tessa Morrison, Madison Torresin, Taylor Roberts and Jordi Perry, and Cougars coach Tyrone Thwaites won’t be taking Craig Allen’s team lightly.
“They played Warwick on Friday night and for most of the first half it was line ball so we know they’re different at their place, and they are a team who shoots the ball really well,” Thwaites said.
“They’ve got a number of guards who are tough, Bujniak is a good import, Sarah Allen is having her best year of basketball. We know that we have to be on our game and we don’t take anything for granted.
“We certainly won’t be doing that over the last six weeks of the year and we know that Craig is a smart coach but we’ll be ready to go for Friday night.”
The Cockburn Cougars men are in their best patch of form of the season as they take on the talented East Perth Eagles at Herb Graham Recreation Centre on Friday night.
The Cougars are now on a three-game winning streak in the men’s competition on the back of impressive victories against the Goldfields Giants, Mandurah Magic and Warwick Senators.
There has been a lot to like in those three wins with Courtney Alexander II averaging 19.3 points and 10.0 rebounds, Taj Benning putting up 17.0 points, 3.7 boards and 3.7 assists, Keegan Phillips providing 18.7 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists, and Josh Hunt delivering 16.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists.
Then there’s inspirational six-time club MVP winning captain Gavin Field in his best form of the season with 24.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 6.3 assists over those last three wins.
However, the Cougars are still hunting down a top eight position so need to keep that form rolling on Friday night at Mirrabooka against an East Perth team also trying to build some momentum.
The Eagles might have won just three matches this season so far in the men’s competition, but two of those have come in their last four outings.
The returns of Jerami Grace and Sebit Reath had a significant impact in their win last Friday night against the Senators even without Justin King.
And with a team featuring Grand Final MVP Lee Roberts, import guard Taylor Young along with Grace, Reath, captain Jarrad Anastasio and some emerging local talent, Cooper is fully aware of the threat they possess especially on their home floor.
“Any team on their night, we’ve seen it from Slammers, Lakeside and Mandurah, in this men’s competition this year can win against anybody,” Cooper said.
“I think that’s great for the competition, it’s great for NBL1 West to see how tight it is every night when everybody is at full strength.
“I guess moving forward for the league that’s great, but we have to make sure we’re on our game at both ends of the floor. East Perth has some offensive weapons that have come back in and we need to make sure that we get our scout right, we execute it and continue to just get the job done.”
On the personnel front, the Cougars will still be without 271-game vice-captain and point guard Seva Chan for Friday night’s match up while back up centre Nathan Pond is a chance to add some size and depth to the front court.
However, it’s tough news for emerging forward Luke Phillips who won’t play again this season after the shoulder injury he suffered against Joondalup after averaging 12.0 points and 4.6 rebounds so far in 2023.
“Pondy is a maybe, Seva is a no and Luke is done for the season. We’re not sure if he’s going to have surgery or not, but he’s definitely out for the rest of the season,” Cooper said.
“It’s a dislocation but it’s not a ball and socket dislocation, it’s higher up in the shoulder area. It’s the bone that goes across the top of his shoulder near the collarbone that is out of place, and they can’t physically put it back in.
“You either have to wait for it to go back in itself or you have surgery, it’s disappointing for Luke obviously.
“But what it does is give Charlie Dimmock an opportunity and he played an important role for us against Warwick as Kaidon Sander did in Kalgoorlie so it all bodes well for future for us while leaving us a bit undermanned for this season.”