It’s Indigenous Round in the NBL1 West as the competition resumes with two significant matchups for the Perth Redbacks away to the Joondalup Wolves and home to the Willetton Tigers.
To coincide with NAIDOC Week, all NBL1 West clubs will be wearing specially designed Indigenous uniforms this weekend, including the Redbacks.
The Redbacks design was created by Phil Walley-Stack including some striking artwork based around a spider web reflecting Kings Park and the connection of the meeting places around the centre of Perth and the song longs between these.
Round 12 of the NBL1 West competition didn’t eventuate due to the COVID-19 restrictions in place, but now it all leads into what could well be a season-defining double-header this weekend for both the Redbacks’ women and men.
Round 13 for the Redbacks gets underway on Friday night at HBF Arena against the Joondalup Wolves.
Starting with the women’s contest, it presents the Redbacks with a chance to knock off the team leading the competition right now and who won the championship last year in the West Coast Classic.
The Redbacks did win the last two games prior to the break and if Maddie Allen can hold her own inside and Makailah Dyer can catch fire, then the upset could be on the cards.
But the test for the Redbacks is a significant one up against a Lady Wolfpack team sitting atop the standings at 8-1 and coached by Charles Nix with former Perth star Kayla Steindl heading up their charge.
That will lead into a tantalising men’s match up to close proceedings on Friday night with both teams entering on identical 7-5 records.
Both the Wolves and Redbacks men appear to have squads capable of being real contenders this season and Friday’s game could show just where they both sit.
However, with the Redbacks now possessing the firepower of Marshall Nelson with Zac Gattorna with the inside presence of Louis Timms, all-round talent of Tevin Jackson and leadership of Joel Wagner, they’ll like their chances of making six wins in their past seven.
As big as Friday night is away to the Wolves, Saturday evening then should be even bigger for both Redbacks teams up against the Willetton Tigers at Belmont Oasis.
The Tigers will present two significant challenges for the Redbacks but at the same time, it’s going to be a big night at home to try and make two big statements.
The Willetton women enter this weekend with a 7-2 record in second position led by Sam Lubcke and Alex Sharp to provide another challenge that the Redbacks are going to have to rise for on Saturday at Belmont Oasis.
Then the Redbacks men take on a Willetton team leading the league with a 10-1 record led by former Perth championship-winning centre Michael Vigor.
For Redbacks men’s coach CJ Jackson, he has been impressed with the way his team has been playing of late to have won five of their past six matches, but he is fully aware that these two games this weekend could very well be season-defining.
“Now that it’s coming towards the middle and second half of the season, these games are must-win for us and we have to pursue them like that to stay in touch with the top few teams,” Jackson said.
“The top teams only have one or two losses so they will be tough to catch and I’ll throw in there that Willetton has been the team that nobody has really looked at like they should.
“They have only lost one game and I just feel like we need to stay in touch with them, but if we come in as a No. 6, 7 or 8 team I believe we’ll be one of the best in those positions in the country so I think that’s where we’re at.”