window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);} gtag('js', new Date()); gtag('config', 'G-C0NEPLQW4Z');

Cougars NBL1 West Preview – Round 14

Share this article

The Cockburn Cougars are back home to Wally Hagan Stadium on Saturday to host the Perth Redbacks with the women needing to keep winning to stay top and the men attempting to stay in the playoff hunt.

Coming off the challenging road double last weekend to the Mandurah Magic and Perry Lakes Hawks, the Cougars return home this Saturday to face the Redbacks.

The women’s match gets underway at 5.30pm before the men’s contest tips off at 7.30pm.





The Cockburn Cougars were in unfamiliar territory last Saturday night having to rebound from a loss but did so impressively and will now be out to keep the momentum going at home to the Perth Redbacks on Saturday night.

The 13-game winning streak of the Cougars came to an end last Friday night in Mandurah at the hands of the Magic and suddenly Cockburn had the challenge to remain on the road and bounce back less than 24 hours later.

They were able to do just that with a commanding 83-44 victory against the Perry Lakes Hawks at Bendat Basketball Centre to now remain in top position in the NBL1 West entering the last month of the regular season.

Now Cockburn plays host to the Redbacks this Saturday evening at Wally Hagan Stadium knowing they do need to keep winning to remain in top spot with the battle fascinating with them at 14-1 and the Joondalup Wolves hot on their tail at 13-2.

While on paper the opponent on Saturday are struggling with the Redbacks having lost nine straight matches with a 1-14 record, there’ll be no complacency creeping in from the Cougars.

It’s still a Perth team with talent, youth and experience with Mikayla Pirini, Raya Thompson, Rebecca Motroni, Denielle Ashworth and Bri Bailey in the back court, import DaJah Daniel and then emerging stars Brooke Malone and Shenae Hartree.

Combine that with the fact that coach Tyrone Thwaites has plenty of areas he wants to tune up ahead of the playoffs, and there’s a lot to focus on ahead of Saturday’s contest.

“For starters we’ve got some pretty sore bodies and that was a tough double we had with two away games, and a pretty physical game on Friday night and then a game that we had to win on Saturday,” Thwaites said.

“So we have to manage our crew at the moment as well as we head into the finals to make sure we’re in tip top shape.

“We probably won’t get out as much on the floor as we would like this week, but for us at the moment over these last five games it’s about refining things which have let us down a little bit.

“At different stages that’s been our defensive transition and probably our defensive rebounding. To really get those things under control and go back to our identity will be a core focus over the next month.”



On a personnel front it’s been a season from hell in lot of ways for the Cockburn Cougars men, but for the most part they have remained strongly competitive and can keep the playoffs within reach by beating the Perth Redbacks on Saturday night.

The Cougars split their road double last weekend starting with a 12-point win on Friday in Mandurah against the Magic but everything conspired against them on Saturday ending up with a rough 30-point loss to the Perry Lakes Hawks at Bendat Basketball Centre.

With Seva Chan and Luke Phillips already sidelined, Josh Hunt couldn’t play through illness and then Keegan Phillips injured an ankle throughout the game so it turned out just one of those nights for the Cougars.

What it means is that they now sit on a 7-10 record entering the last month of the 2023 season and if the Cougars want to take part in the playoffs, there’s not much room for error.

The first task comes on Saturday night at Wally Hagan Stadium against a stacked Redbacks team who currently sit in firth position at 10-6 and are fighting for their own top four position, and are coming of losses to the Joondalup Wolves and Lakeside Lightning last weekend.

It’s a Redbacks team full of talent with import point guard Bryton Hobbs, powerhouse Brian Voelkel, versatile captain Tevin Jackson, and now with David Okwera joining Sioeli Vaiangina and Maris Colton up front with Louis Timms a chance to return on Saturday night.

While it’s another significant test against a tough opponent also with plenty to play for that the Cougars will be taking on, coach Andrew Cooper says it will be a good test to see how much it means to his team by how they perform.

“Like I’ve said throughout the season, if we’re playing well we are going to be tough to beat no matter what,” Cooper said.

“Sometimes the depth will be against us but our backs are against the wall so we’re sort of coming up to no second chances now.

“It comes down to if the players really want it and how much they want it, and what they are prepared to sacrifice individually especially to get the job done so we get these wins.

“We could have beaten them last time we played them and our personnel will be a little bit different this time, and adding Seva back in gives us an extra guard rotation. I think it will be a good game and we’ll certainly put up a better fight than we did against Perry Lakes.”

From a personnel front, Keegan Phillips will likely join his brother Luke now on the sidelines with an ankle injury, but Cooper is hopeful that vice-captain and 271-game point guard Seva Chan will be able to return.

That will just be in time to be rewarded with time trying to quell the influence of Hobbs.

“I think Keegan will probably be out at this stage but hopefully we’ll have Seva back so that will be the only real change, Cooper added.

“We didn’t have Josh either Saturday night, he had the flu all week and hadn’t trained, and struggled on Friday against Mandurah and we decided not to play him at all on Saturday just because he felt so bad.

“So hopefully we get him back as well but we’re sort of the walking wounded that’s for sure and that’s why we needed to try to get them as fresh as possible for this week. We can still mathematically make it if we win all our games and a few results go our way so that’s sort of our plan moving into Saturday night.”

Major Partner - Dentistry Plus