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Geraldton Buccaneers gear up for ‘defining’ weekend as final rounds approach

Headshot of Jake Santa Maria
Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Shaun Stewart goes up against the Lightning in their previous meeting.
Camera IconShaun Stewart goes up against the Lightning in their previous meeting. Credit: Arctic Moon Photography

It’s officially crunch time in the NBL1 West as the Buccs face five games in the last three rounds as they play catch up with the rest of the league.

After the Buccs ground away to maintain their perfect home record against the Mandurah Magic, a crucial double-header awaits against the Lakeside Lightning and Perth Redbacks this weekend.

The Buccs comfortably beat the Lightning in their home fixture but are on a good run of form with four wins in their last five, while the Redbacks beat the Buccs in the special Karratha game back in round two.

So far this season the Buccs have not managed to claim double-header weekends outright, splitting results on each occasion, but a huge opportunity awaits if they can turn that stat around this weekend.

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The Perry Lake Hawks will play Rockingham Flames in a top-of-the-table clash this round and with the Buccs having two games in hand, they can close the gap on or potentially even jump into the top two depending on the outcome.

Buccs coach Dayle Joseph knows how important this round is for all teams in finals calculations.

“It’s a defining round for a lot of clubs. It should be an interesting weekend, there is a lot on the line,” he said.

“Lightning are probably the form team of the competition at the moment and the Redbacks are a bit opposite and there’s no real easy games for us to close out the season.

“A couple of wins and top two is on the cards, but a couple of losses and we could be right back in the midfield.”

The Buccs have the busiest schedule of anyone to end the season, including four away games, but Joseph sees the positive side of the draw.

“I think it’s a better way to end the season than having a soft end and maybe come in a little bit underdone once finals come around,” he said.

Joseph also believes there’s still plenty more improvement left in the squad despite being third on the ladder.

“I wasn’t happy with how we played against the Magic. I can’t really put a finger on why, we hit all our key indicators, but I didn’t like our game style and maybe that’s a credit to how Mandurah played,” he said.

“I think we are still working towards our best. We need to be better across the board, we need to work on our structures and really nail down our game style.”

The Buccs will take on the Lakeside Lightning from 7pm on July 8 at Lakeside Recreation Centre before following up against the Redbacks at Belmont Oasis Leisure Centre on July 9 at noon.

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