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Geraldton Buccaneers fight for top spot against teams looking to keep finals hopes alive

Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
The Buccs could go top with two wins.
Camera IconThe Buccs could go top with two wins. Credit: Artic Moon Photography

The Buccs are heading back to the big smoke this weekend as they prepare for a double-header, with the chance to go top potentially on the line.

Last week’s win against Joondalup made it a six-game winning streak for the Buccs, putting them in second place, one win behind Rockingham Flames but with a game in hand.

They face the Eastern Suns on Saturday and Warwick Senators on Sunday, both of whom the Buccs defeated in their home fixtures back in April.

Should they be able to repeat that performance on the road, the Buccs could go top if the Flames drop either of their tough games against the Willetton Tigers or Joondalup Wolves.

It’s an opportunity Buccs coach Dayle Joseph is keenly aware of and knows the importance of grabbing it when it’s on offer.

“While the opportunities are there, you have to keep taking them, the chance is there for us to win two games and hang around the top two, top four and is an opportunity that we don’t want to miss,” he said.

“There is an advantage of finishing in the top two which we took advantage of last season, and there’s certainly an advantage of finishing top four as well.

“A couple of losses changes that a little, but a couple of wins keeps us in that hunt for a top two spot so when the opportunity is there, I figure we should still thrive to strive to achieve those.”

While the Buccs will be hoping to take a big step in their fight for the minor premiership, both the Suns and Senators are sitting on the edge of the top eight and Joseph will not be underestimating the teams’ desperation as the season enters its final third.

“Some of those teams in the middle and even in just after the eight are probably teams that haven’t had a consistent line-up each week,” he said.

“At their best with a full line-up, all those teams are quite strong and could probably surprise any of the teams above them so we won’t be taking any chances.”

Speaking on consistent line-ups, Joseph has been pleased so far with how the team has accommodated the absence of Liam Hunt, with the star still in the US for a few more weeks.

“Mat Wundenberg has played a lot more minutes and covered a little bit of the rebounding side of things for us,” he said.

“Then we’ve got guys like Fletcher Klasztorny and Zac Gattorna, who has probably played a bit better the last couple of weeks, that have lifted the intensity and that passion that Liam plays with it’s pleasing to see.”

With the Buccs humming along nicely, Joseph said it was more about small tweaks heading into the weekend.

“We’re fine-tuning some of our offensive structures a little bit, different teams play different defences a little bit,” he said.

“The Suns have probably been playing some small ball basketball so those match-ups will be a little bit different and we’ll try to do a few things to exploit that to our advantage.”

The Buccs will tip off against the Suns at 7pm on Saturday and 12pm against the Senators on Sunday.

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