Geraldton Buccaneers hit the road ahead of basketball season opener

Lachlan AllenGeraldton Guardian
Ryan Blanchett and Johny Narkle with coach Dayle Joseph.
Camera IconRyan Blanchett and Johny Narkle with coach Dayle Joseph. Credit: Reuben Carder/Geraldton Guardian

The Geraldton Buccaneers will get their NBL1 West season under way on Saturday night when they face the South West Slammers in Bunbury — the first game in a weekend double-header away from home.

The Buccs finished mid-table last season, with imports locked out by the hard border and underage players forced to step up from the local league, but they will be hoping for a better finish this year.

Coach Dayle Joseph said: “We’ve pretty much got our full squad here now for two weeks or a week and a half of preparation, which has been really good. I like to think we’re a step ahead of where we’ve been in past years.”

They have enjoyed a pre-season free from interruptions as the hard border re-opening in early March allowed them to bring in their exports.

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“Since then it’s been reasonably smooth sailing,” Joseph said. “So obviously, that happened (hard border reopened) and we got Shawn (Stewart) in from the States and Cameron Coleman came in from Sydney, and Malik (Meunier) came in from Melbourne.”

“That was helpful. They didn’t have to come in and quarantine before they started training. So that worked out well for them and we got an extra week’s training in because they were here nice and early.”

Joseph said the team would probably lack match sharpness in their first two games.

“A lot of the Perth teams are all playing scratch matches against each other in Perth but the extra travel and obviously the COVID issue is a scenario we need to take into account,” he said.

After Saturday’s clash the Buccs will follow up with another away game against the Mandurah Magic on Sunday, April 10.

“It’s always just part of what we do, we play Saturday night, and we have to back it up Sunday lunchtime. And then we get to bus home for five or six hours. So that’s what we do and what we’re prepared for,” Joseph said.

“Yeah, hopefully we can get away with two wins on the road to start the season. If nothing else, we learn a lot in those two games and it will help us build towards, you know, having a better squad during the year.”

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