News

R1 Preview: Melbourne v Illawarra

Both sides missed the Finals last year, but both Melbourne United and the Illawarra Hawks are being tipped to be big improvers. If there was a match predicted to be the highest scoring game of the round, this would be it. These two teams led the scoring averages at the pre-season NBL Blitz and played a barn-burner during the tournament with Melbourne downing the Hawks 106-99. In Townsville this Friday night, Melbourne gave us another demonstration of their new found firepower with a 99-84 win over the Crocodiles. Led by Todd Blanchfield’s new career best 29-points that including a red hot 7-from-9 three-pointers, they are sending a message to the competition that they are going to be posting some pretty impressive numbers this year. Exciting new import signing Hakim Warrick scored 21-points off the bench with Chris Goulding’s contribution of 11 assists smashing his previous career best of just six and showing he can be just as dangerous giving out the passes as he is receiving them. Illawarra continued to shoot the ball well in their season opener against Cairns on Thursday, the problem being they just didn’t take enough of them to win. Hawks coach Rob Beveridge was disappointed with his club taking just 47 shots against the Taipans on Thursday night. ‘‘I want to get up and down the floor and get as may shots up as we can,” Beveridge said to Fairfax. “We want to aim for 80 shots a game which is very very high but when we’ve got a team that can shoot the ball that well, that’s what we have to continue to strive for.” Statistics show that Illawarra made 53 per cent from the field including 60 per cent from the three-point line – numbers that generally consolidate a victory. With both teams shooting better percentages from the three-point line than inside it in their opening games, the suggestion will be that this game could mirror the clash witnessed in Townsville a fortnight ago. BY THE NUMBERS

Head-to-head: 4 games played.

Melbourne United: 2 wins. Illawarra Hawks: 2 wins.

At Hisense Arena: 1 game played.

Melbourne United: 1 wins. Illawarra Hawks: 0 wins.

2014/15 in Melbourne: Round 4) United by 13 Round 18)Hawks by 6 (Margaret Court)

FAST FACTS

BIG & SMALL - This match will see the challenge of the NBL’s tallest team by average, Melbourne (200cm) vs the shortest Illawarra (197cm).

Hawks’ centre AJ Ogilvy is the tallest player in this game at 211cm and team mate Rhys Martin is the shortest at 185cm.

BUBBLES IS BACK - Chris Goulding plays his first game in Melbourne since a 98-87 win in the semi-finals over Adelaide in March 2014. In that game, Goulding top scored with 37-points which was the only game at Hisense since his 50-point outing against the Kings two weeks earlier.

A quick summary will reveal that Goulding’s last two games at Hisense Arena came at a scoring average of 43.5 points per game.

Hawks centre AJ Ogilvy has played just once before at Hisense Arena in his career and it was the night Goulding scored 50-points against his Kings in March 2014. Ogilvy, who led the League in rebounding that season only had nine points and 4 rebounds in that game.

SCHEDULE SNAPSHOT - This game starts an incredible home run for Melbourne where they will play six games at Hisense Arena in the next 21 days. They will play six different teams in that span with the exception being New Zealand, who they host in round five.

FEATURE

NBL23 Way Too Early Predictions

5 hours ago

ROSTERS

Analysis: Ins, Outs, Depth Charts (Update)

7 hours ago

PODCAST

The Huddle: John Rillie

8 hours ago

NEWS

Adelaide: Franks 'On His Way'

8 hours ago

NEWS

Former NBA Guard Helps Crown King

10 hours ago

NEWS

Soares: 'NBL One of Best Leagues in World'

10 hours ago

NBL1

Noi Ready for NBL1 Finals Challenge

10 hours ago

NEWS

Tasmania's "Diamond in the Rough"

13 hours ago

NEWS

JAM TV Becomes NBL Production Partner

13 hours ago

PRE-SEASON

Darwin Blitz Open to All

15 hours ago

LaMelo Ball Leads Hawks, Taipans Beat Bullets Again

16 September 2019

Fourth Place Frustration for Boomers in China

15 September 2019

FIBA World Cup Bronze Medal Game | Australia v France Preview

15 September 2019

Prather Shines In United's Big Win, Taipans Smash Bullets

14 September 2019

Starting Five: World Cup Heartbreak

14 September 2019

Spain Again Breaks Boomers Hearts in Double OT

13 September 2019

Watch Live | Illawarra Hawks vs Melbourne United

13 September 2019

FIBA World Cup Semi-Final | Australia v Spain Preview

13 September 2019

Starting Five: Boomers Two Wins from Gold

12 September 2019

Australia Advance to World Cup Final Four

12 September 2019

NBL Partners

Naming Rights
Major Partners
Broadcast & Media Partners
Profile Partners
Suppliers
Associates