Motivation not lacking for Sharks

BRENDON EGAN
Last updated 05:00 12/05/2012

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Manawatu Jets coach Ryan Weisenberg is as surprised as anyone by the Southland Sharks' sub-par 2012 basketball season.

Southland were touted as top-four threats at the start of the year.

They supposedly had one of the most talented starting fives in the league, but have not delivered on their potential and sit in the National Basketball League basement with a four-win, 10-loss record.

The Sharks were forced to deal with plenty of adversity early on, playing their first seven games on the road because of the unavailability of their home venue.

They won only two of those matches and have battled for consistency across the whole four quarters for much of the season.

Weisenberg said he had expected more from the Sharks but acknowledged sometimes things did not go as planned, something the Jets had experienced in the past.

"It's tough because they have so much talent on that roster.

"Basketball is like that – you can have the best team in the world [but] if they don't play together or you get injuries or a number of things, it can really throw a team off. They had to start with (seven) games on the road, that wasn't easy for them. They've had some huge wins. You can see how good a team they can be. We're expecting their best team on the court (tonight)."

The Jets face a pivotal southern road trip this weekend, taking on the Sharks before heading to Nelson to face the Giants tomorrow.

Manawatu are third on the NBL ladder with a seven win-five loss record and are fighting for their playoff lives. They could finish as high as second if they win their remaining four games, but could just as easily miss out on the top-four finals with a couple of losses.

Southland are back in action after losing 107-89 to the league-leading Pirates in Auckland on Thursday night.

The Sharks may have only pride and 2013 contracts to play for but coach Richard Dickel said motivation levels would not be lacking.

"Every game we play in, we want to win," Dickel said.

"If you can't get motivated enough to play in front of your home crowd and have enough pride in your own performance, you probably shouldn't be playing."

Southland knocked over the Jets 92-87 in Palmerston North earlier this season.

Southland Sharks: Larry Abney (c), Kevin Braswell, Dan Peck, Ethan Rusbatch, Craig Bradshaw, Dion Prewster, Shaun Tilby, James Paringatai, Paratene McLeod, Jimmy Todd, Andrew Wheeler, Rhys Smolenski.

Manawatu Jets: Chris Hagan, Josh Pace, Marcel Jones, Jeremiah Trueman, Nick Horvath, Kaine Hokianga, Matt Te Huna, Mike Homik, Miles Pearce, Zane Meehl, Zeek Meehl.

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- The Southland Times

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