The Sharks need just one more win to lock-up their place at the Final 4 and they will be eyeing this contest against a Jets team without Kuran Iverson (injured, returned to USA) as the perfect opportunity to close the door on the Southern Huskies. After a thumping win over the Airs in R11 the Sharks are choc-full of confidence and seemingly hitting form at the right end of the season. The Jets suffered two losses last round, the first a very un-Jets like performance against the Rangers, the second was yet another gritty close loss to the Giants.
One thing in the home team's favour is the current form of both Wally Ellenson and Daishon Knight - if the import pair can stay on a roll the Jets will push the Sharks for a long way. Let's not forget earlier this season the Sharks suffered a surprise loss to the Jets. Will history repeat or can the Sharks sew up their tickets to the Final 4?
Starting 5 10. Jackson Stubbins (guard) 40. Daishon Knight (guard) 3. Wally Ellenson (guard/forward) 5. Taane Samuel (forward) 50. Shane Temara (forward/centre)
Bench 15. Troy Temara (forward/centre) Tia Temata-Frost 4. Haize Walker (guard) Jake McKinlay
Coach: Tim McTamney Assistant: Terry Tanoa Assistant: Josh Reeves Manager: Jason Pearn
From The Coach - Tim McTamney
Another heartbreaking loss last Sunday, this time to the Nelson Giants, shows once again that this young team have incredible spirit and toughness to be able to compete at this level. We are obviously devastated to lose one of our emotional leaders, Kuran Iverson, who has returned to the United States to undergo injury rehabilitation. The team and all Jets supporters wish the crazy guy a speedy recovery and know he will be back stronger and better than ever. With less than 5 games remaining, NBL rules are clear that he cannot be replaced so we will offer more of our young players the opportunity to step up in KI's absence for the remainder of the season. We look forward to this Thursday's challenge as we face defending champions, the Southland Sharks. It should be an interesting final home game for our team as the Sharks have been a bogey team for us over the last two years, with us only winning only the last two of our last four head to head matchups.
Starting 5 35. Alex Pledger (centre) 3. Brandon Lucas (guard) 22. Hyrum Harris (guard/forward) 2. Todd Blanchfield (guard) 15. Tom Vodanovich (forward)
Bench 11. Dom Kelman-Poto (forward) 14. Tai Wynyard (centre) 25. Andrew Wheeler (guard) 45. Tinashe Matambanadzo (guard) 2. Tom Cowie (guard)
Coach: Judd Flavell Manager: Troy Paulin
From the Coach - Judd Flavell
Having been beaten by the Jets once already this season, we are well aware of this team’s capabilities. This looms as an important game for us as we try to cement our playoff spot. Our defence has been much better over the past few weeks and it need to be effective again to get past the Jets. We’ve put up some big scores recently but our offence will need to keep firing.