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Sharks hit the road

Derone Raukawa will miss the Southland Sharks' road trip to Nelson and New Plymouth as the management take a cautious approach with one of their attacking sparks.

The Sharks will play the Nelson Giants in Nelson on Thursday night before travelling to New Plymouth to play the Taranaki Mountain Airs on Friday night.

Raukawa will remain in Invercargill to work with physio Hayden Sproat as he nurses a hip injury.

The 22-year-old shooting guard had problems with his hip flexor injury before the Wellington Saints game last week but he still suited up playing 20 minutes in the 88-86 loss.

Raukawa since gone backwards with his injury which prompted the Sharks management to rest him to ensure he can get it right.

"We would love for him to be out on court with us, but the most important thing is he gets right," Sharks coach Judd Flavell said.

The likes of Duane Bailey and Hayden Allen will need to play more minutes to fill the void, with Andrew Wheeler also a chance to play a key role from the bench.

Alex Pledger missed the Sharks loss to the Saints because of concussion.

He copped a stray elbow to the head last week in training and as a result suffered headaches.

Pledger will travel with the team to Nelson and New Plymouth, although Flavell refrained from saying he would definitely play.

"He's improving and the signs are looking positive, we've just got to take precautionary measures when we deal with things like that.

"It will be a day by day sort of thing with what he's got. We are hoping he keeps steadily improving, if we can get some game time out of him that's great.

"It's something we can't make a call on right now, that decision will be made on game day."

The Sharks will be favoured to win both games on the road even with the busy 48 hour period.

They are at very short odds in the first game against Nelson given they will come up against a team on Thursday night who are 0-3, which included the round one 96-58 thumping by the Sharks.

Flavell tried to dampen down Nelson's horror start to the season suggesting they would provide a tricky assignment in the second 2017 clash between the two teams.

"Nelson in Nelson is always a tough ask. I know their record is down, but they'll be desperate.

"They are in a position where they are going to fight with everything they've got.

"Obviously we are not taking our eyes off Nelson at all. I've been around sport for too long and in those situations too much to underestimate them."

In the lead up to the Sharks game, Nelson sacked import Joe Slocum and brought in 23-year-old Melbourne United point guard Kyle Adnam to replace him.

Flavell had seen plenty of Adnam in his other role of Breakers assistant coach in the Australian NBL and was weary as to what he will bring to the Nelson team.

"He torched us with the Breakers, he had some good games against us.

"He looks like he is about 13-years-old, but he is a hell of a player."

"He will give them a lot of help, especially on the scoring end."


v Nelson Giants - in Nelson, Thursday, 7pm

v Taranaki Mountain AIrs - in New Plymouth, Friday, 7pm

Article and image courtesy of The Southland Times.

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