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Cougars Preview | NBL1 West Round 2

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The Cockburn Cougars hit the road for the first time this NBL1 West season to take on the South West Slammers on Friday night with both teams looking to remain undefeated to start 2024.

It sets up two fascinating match ups on Friday night at Eaton Recreation Centre as well with the women looking to keep a dominant stretch against the youthful Slammers going while the Cockburn men will have revenge on the mind for a loss late last season in the same venue.

The women’s match begins the evening at 6.30pm with the men’s game to follow from 8.30pm.


While Friday night’s women’s match pits the reigning NBL1 West champions up against last year’s wooden spooners, the Cockburn Cougars won’t be taking the South West Slammers lightly at Eaton Recreation Centre.

With the Slammers looking to make strides to improve in 2024 after a tough stretch, there will be no better time to make a statement than against a Cougars team looking to build momentum early in the season to their championship defence.

It’s always tricky making the trip south on a Friday night too so there will be no complacency creeping in from the Cougars as they take on the Slammers in the Round 2 match up.

Cockburn started the season last week on an emotional evening at Wally Hagan Stadium raising the 2023 championship banner and scoring an 83-73 victory against the Mandurah Magic.

That means the Cougars are now on a seven-game winning streak dating back to the run into last season’s championship where they lost just twice the entire season.

However, the Cougars were without Perth Lynx WNBL pair Alex Ciabattoni and Steph Gorman along with import pair Daniel Rabert and Maria Blazejewski so there’s plenty of improvement to come from that first up performance.

There was a lot to like from what the Cougars did, though, with Jewel Williams leading the charge with 31 points while Jessie Edwards added 17 points and 11 rebounds, Jaya Scafidi 13 points, six boards and four assists, and Amelia Corasaniti 10 points, three rebounds and three assists.

The Slammers might have lost last week by 59 points on the road to the Rockingham Flames, but there were encouraging signs with Chervelle Cox having 11 points and 11 rebounds, Yasmeen Smith eight points and former Cougar Zaya Black eight points, six rebounds and two assists.

Coming into Friday night’s game and Cockburn has won the past seven matches against South West by an average of 56.4 points. The biggest win in that stretch was by 89 points while the two wins last year were by a combined 146 points.

The last time the Cougars lost to the Slammers was back in June of 2019 with Cockburn now attempting to go back-to-back in 2024 while South West is just trying to be competitive having now lost 33 straight matches overall, and 74 of the past 75.


Last time the Cockburn Cougars were at Eaton Recreation Centre it was a costly loss late last season to the South West Slammers so revenge will be on the mind this Friday night.

There might be a lot of new faces on the Cougars team for 2024 to the one that suffered that loss late last year to the Slammers that just about ended their playoff hopes, but it will still bring back some disappointing memories for those that were there.

What it also does for the Cougars is lets them know the task that is ahead of them against the Slammers on Friday night and that they will have to build on what they did last week to continue their undefeated start to the 2024 season.

Both teams began their seasons last Thursday night with the Cougars opening up with a win under new coach Mark Clayden, defeating the Mandurah Magic 103-91.

There was a lot to be encouraged about in the performance as well despite having Demetris Morant and Seva Chan still to come into the Cockburn team.

Josh Hunt produced 25 points and nine rebounds with Rhys Vague putting up 20 points and nine boards, Gavin Field 17 points and three rebounds, and Nathan Pond 10 points and five boards.

The Slammers, meanwhile, might have lost to the Rockingham Flames by 11 points, but showed good signs too on the back of 31 points, 10 rebounds and four assists from Buay Tuach with Pharell Keats, Devan Craig and Manyiel Wugol all scoring 13 points.

The Cougars now take on the Slammers on Friday night with the first road game of the season attempting to go to 2-0 in an encouraging start to the new campaign.

On the back of that first up win, Vague is looking forward to the Cougars keeping that momentum going on Friday night but he knows it won’t be easy against the Slammers.

“It’s going to be a tough one especially in their home gym and they’ve got some really talented guys,” Vague said.

“I haven’t been around the league for a while, but from what I’ve heard they are a team that always play hard. They were in the game against Rocko last week and probably could have ended up winning had they strung a few more stops together.

“They’re obviously a tough and talented team, and we know they are going to bring it to us. We won’t be taking them lightly that’s for sure.”

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