Geraldton Buccaneers relishing top-of-the-ladder clash with Rockingham Flames

Lachlan AllenGeraldton Guardian
Buccaneers coach Dayle Joseph speaks to his side during their match against the Cockburn Cougars.
Camera IconBuccaneers coach Dayle Joseph speaks to his side during their match against the Cockburn Cougars. Credit: Natasha Gilmartin/RegionalHUB

The Geraldton Buccaneers will face off against the Rockingham Flames in a top-of-the-ladder clash on Saturday night at Activewest Stadium.

The Buccs currently sit first on the NBL1 West ladder after their perfect start to the season, while the Flames come into the game with five wins and one loss.

Fletcher Klasztorny will be unavailable for the Buccs due to a hip injury suffered in the win over the Goldfield Giants which may sideline him for up to two weeks.

Ahead of this weekend’s game, coach Dayle Joseph highlighted the performances of captain Matt Wundenberg.

“He doesn’t fill the stat sheet as far as points and assists or anything like that, but he’s certainly our best rebounder and is defending some of the best bigs in the league and holding his own,” he said.

“Certainly, if he wasn’t out there things could be a little bit different. He doesn’t get the praise of some of the highest scoring athletes in the league, but certainly a player we can’t go without at the moment.”

The Buccs are the best defensive side in the competition, conceding 71 points on average per game, while their opponents have the best offence in the league, scoring 94 points on average per game.

Buccs' Mathiang Muo takes a shot.
Camera IconBuccs' Mathiang Muo takes a shot. Credit: Arctic Moon Photography

Joseph said the offence versus defence matchup was something the team discussed during training.

“So we’ll obviously have to put a lot of structure into our defence and how we handle some of their structures and their on ball screening,” he said.

“I don’t have any problem with the way our offence is structured. I think we’ll be OK. It’s probably just being able to stop them from scoring and giving them access to the basket.”

The Flames have one of the most talented rosters in the league with former Perth Wildcats players Tom Jervis and Greg Hire, Marshall Nelson from the Cairns Taipans, Devondrick Walker, who played in the G League in the NBA, and 300-plus game veteran point guard Ryan Godfrey.

“If you stop one someone else will pop up, stop two someone else will pop up, stop three there’s still someone that could probably hurt you. So it’s a very tough line-up they put on the floor,” he said.

Despite their 6-0 start to the season, Joseph said his message to the players was the same.

“Yeah, expect to be challenged moving forward. So, obviously we’ve set the bar pretty high and as we come up against better teams, you put a bit of a target on your back for them to want to beat you,” he said.

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