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Cougars Preview | NBL1 West Round 9

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The Cockburn Cougars women return to the home of their triumph for the first time since last year’s championship on Friday night while it’s another double-header for the men against the Perry Lakes Hawks and Geraldton Buccaneers.

After a string of three straight double-headers, it’s just a single game Round 9 in the NBL1 West for the Cougars women up against the Hawks at Bendat Basketball Centre on Friday night.

Meanwhile, it’s another double-header for the Cockburn men beginning on Friday away to Perry Lakes before then returning home against the Geraldton Buccaneers on Saturday night at Wally Hagan Stadium.




The defending champion Cockburn Cougars are back to the venue they won last year’s title for the first time since when they take on the Perry Lakes Hawks on Friday night.

The Cougars made history at Bendat Basketball Centre last year when they beat the Willetton Tigers to win a first women’s championship and now they are back on that same court this Friday night.

Cockburn comes into the Round 9 match up sitting in fourth position in the NBL1 West this season with an 8-3 record on the back of three successive weeks of double-headers.

It was a third straight double last weekend with the Cougars beating the East Perth Eagles on the road on Friday night by 26 points before then a slip up at home to the Warwick Senators on Saturday.

That ended a 20-game home winning streak as well for the Cougars, but it’s now back on the road this Friday to take on a Perry Lakes team who have been playing impressively winning seven of 10 games so far this season.

The Hawks are also fresh with the bye last weekend and prior to that winning their previous two games by a combined 89 points against the South West Slammers and Kalamunda Eastern Suns.

With a team featuring Ash Isenbarger and Maddy Dennis up front with the impressive Grace Stone, and then Mia Satie and Millie McCarthy in the back court, it’s a strong team under championship winning coach Craig Mansfield.

Cougars coach Tyrone Thwaites is under no illusions that Perry Lakes will provide Cockburn with another tough test on Friday night.

“They’re playing good basketball and they’re a little bit different to a lot of the other teams in the league, they’ve got two bigs who can shoot the ball pretty well and some pretty hardnosed guards,” Thwaites said.

“Grace Stone has been really good for them and gives them a floor spacer, and if Sam Ashby is back this week then they get a second floor spacer as well.

“They’re a well-coached team and we know they are sitting 7-3 for a reason. We’ve got to make sure we are totally focused otherwise they’ll be tough to beat at their place.”

The Cougars will also welcome import forward Maria Blazejewski in for the first time this season for the contest on the back of being part of a championship team at Chartres in France.

“Maria will be in this week. She’ll be straight into it and we’ll get moving with blending her into the group,” Thwaites said.

“She got in on Monday night and she got straight into training with us this week, and will get moving for Friday night’s game.”


It’s a fourth successive double-header for the Cockburn Cougars in Round 9 of the NBL1 West season as they search for a return to the winner’s list against the Perry Lakes Hawks and Geraldton Buccaneers.

The Cougars now take on the two teams who did battle against one another in Geraldton last weekend firstly up against Perry Lakes at Bendat Basketball Centre on Friday before hosting the Buccaneers at Wally Hagan Stadium on Saturday night.

Last Saturday night in Geraldton saw the Buccs beat the Hawks on their home floor 92-89 in a terrific contest with the job for the Cougars now to take on both those teams in the space of 24 hours this weekend.

It has been a challenging last three weeks with double-headers for the Cougars with some banged up bodies, players in and out through injury, and unavailable also for other reasons.

The result is now Cockburn coming into this weekend on a five-game losing streak and a 3-8 record on the season, but there are positives including Matt Clifford stepping up as point guard, Charlie Dimmock grabbing his chances, and last Friday night with Josh Hunt and Rhys Vague combining for 55 points.

Now the challenges continue firstly on Friday against a Perry Lakes team currently sitting at 5-6 while Geraldton is top-of-the-table as defending champions at 8-1.

Cougars coach Mark Clayden knows the challenges his team is facing with injuries and player unavailability, and it won’t get easier this weekend against the Hawks and Buccaneers, but he’s looking forward to seeing what his group can produce.

“It won’t be any easier this weekend and now that Perry Lakes have got everyone back, and they’ve had everyone together for a while a little bit, and I notice Damo has been playing around with some different line-ups and match ups,” Clayden said.

“He is probably where we want to be right now if we had more bodies available, and it looks like he’s settled into what his line-ups will be where we’re still just trying to work out who we’ll have available each week at the moment.

“Hopefully we get some bodies at training this week to get some work done leading in the weekend. Our biggest concern at the moment is not getting enough training reps in, but that’s probably also why our Champ Men are going so well, but we’ll give it our best shot in these two games this weekend.”

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