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Second place on the line as Geraldton Buccaneers host Hawks in final regular season home game

Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Malik Meunier continued his good form across the weekend but the Buccs fell short against the Hawks.
Camera IconMalik Meunier continued his good form across the weekend but the Buccs fell short against the Hawks. Credit: Artic Moon Photography

The Buccs will return to their happy hunting ground when they host the Perry Lake Hawks this weekend in a monster clash, with second place on the line.

With the Buccs splitting results on the road once again, Saturday’s clash against the Hawks is the last chance to keep the fate of a top-two finish in their own hands.

The Buccs are one win behind the Hawks but have a game in hand and, with a slightly better percentage, a win on the weekend will see them jump into second with two games left to play in the final round.

The prize for a top-two finish is a double chance in front of a home crowd and while the Buccs are guaranteed finals, coach Dayle Joseph knows how important this match is in setting up a deep run into the post-season.

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“Perry Lakes are a quality team; they’ve got a few guys pushing six-foot 11 and can play on the inside and outside, which poses a bit of a threat to us,” he said.

“They also have one of the best point guards in the competition in Mitch Clarke, along with Malik Meunier and Shaun Stewart, so he’ll be tough to defend coming off a couple of big games.

“We’ll need to play very tight man-to-man defence and communicate a little better on screening, and how we get through some of their structures.”

The Buccs are hopeful Zac Gattorna can recover from a hip knock in time for Saturday
Camera IconThe Buccs are hopeful Zac Gattorna can recover from a hip knock in time for Saturday Credit: Artic Moon Photography

The two sides last met back in May, with the Hawks winners by 11 points, which Joseph put down to a poor five minutes as consistency has been hard to find at times this year.

“It was a high-quality game and that five-minute lapse probably cost us, which has been a bit of an issue for us in recent weeks as well,” he said.

“On the weekend I thought the first halves were poor in both games and we made some poor decisions and turnovers, but we managed to correct that by halftime.

“So it was pleasing in that respect and I actually thought we played better in the game we lost, but we’re still looking for that consistent 40-minute performance.”

The Buccs will also be sweating on the fitness of star signing Zac Gattorna, who copped a knock to the hip in Saturday’s clash and did not face the Redbacks.

“He copped a knock to his hip on the night before, so he was quite sore the next day, so yeah, so he took it pretty easy at Tuesday’s training and we’re hoping he’ll pull up OK for the weekend,” Joseph said.

“Liam Hunt will return this week, though we’ll probably ease him back in this week then finish off strong in our last two games to get him ready for finals.”

The Buccs will tip-off against the Hawks from 7pm at Activewest Stadium.

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