Perth Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson says his team won’t get fooled into complacency heading into their best-of-three NBL semi-final series against Wollongong, starting at Perth Arena on Friday.
Wollongong were off the boil in Sunday’s emphatic 86-65 loss to the Wildcats, and will start as rank underdogs in front of a hostile Perth crowd on Friday night.
Gleeson said Sunday’s performance by Wollongong was irrelevant, claiming Hawks coach Gordie McLeod changed up his tactics with the semi-final series in mind.
“Gordie is a very good coach and he can play possum a little bit and put in different structures,” Gleeson said.
“He did that on Sunday and kept a fair bit up his sleeve.”
The Hawks stayed in Perth for the week instead of flying back home, and McLeod conceded his players were flat during Wednesday’s training session.
But Gleeson wasn’t reading anything into that either.
“That’s all smoke and mirrors,” Gleeson said.
“They’ve had two days off, so they’ve probably been down the beach soaking it up, and come back on the basketball court … flat.
“But that’s Wednesday. We play Friday night.
“His team’s going to be up.”
Wollongong’s other trip to Perth this season ended in a horror show – an 87-47 loss in November.
The Wildcats boast a host of match-winners, with American duo James Ennis and Jermaine Beal, forward Shawn Redhage, centre Matt Knight and guard Damian Martin all stars of the competition.
Wollongong will rely heavily on star import Rotnei Clarke, who averaged 20.2 points per game during the regular season, and three-point specialist Oscar Forman.
Game two of the series will be played in Wollongong on Sunday, with a deciding third game to be played in Perth on Tuesday if needed.