'Sixth man' boosts in-form Southland Sharks
The Southland Sharks season seems to be building week by week and coach Paul Henare hopes the supporter numbers continue to follow suit.
The Sharks will play the sixth of their nine 2014 homes games tonight in Invercargill when they play the Waikato Pistons in Invercargill.
The Sharks organisation has been happy with crowd numbers of about 2000 to date, and Henare has sensed a lift in the past couple of weeks with back-to-back wins over heavyweights Wellington and Nelson.
"The crowd sort of builds with our performances so it's great to get that support and to get that noise and atmosphere. The guys really feed off it and it lifts the energy - once the guys get rolling and the crowd gets into it it is like our sixth man," he said.
Henare felt the Southland crowd remained one of the best in the league.
"It's up there with one of the best in the country, if not the best. Nelson can get pretty good, Canterbury in the past has been good, so I think as far as home courts go it doesn't get much better than this venue."
Henare said after the Sharks dropped home games to the Otago Nuggets and Hawke's Bay it was important they did not drop many more, if any, of their remaining home fixtures against Waikato, Taranaki, Manawatu and Canterbury to put them in a strong position for a playoff spot again.
"We've let a couple of games slip at home this year. You're supposed to win all your games at home whether it be top teams or bottoms, and we've already dropped two. We've backed it up with two wins against quality opposition so we need to keep that going."