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R3 Preview: Illawarra v Perth

Over recent times, the Hawks have a worse head-to-head record against the Perth Wildcats than any other team - illustrated by just one win from their last 13 meetings. But, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel. Since the NBL schedule was released, this fixture was the one the fans have been waiting for. The day that Illawarra announced that Rob Beveridge and Kevin Lisch had become Hawks, this game against Perth became a must-watch match. Both men celebrated the 2010 Championship with the Perth Wildcats – ironically against the Hawks – and helped spearhead a partnership that was very successful in Western Australia. The irony continues that just when Lisch announces that he is fit to play after missing the last three matches with a knee injury, Perth’s team took a massive hit on Friday night and they could be far from full strength for this matchup. Guards Casey Prather and Damien Martin watched from the sideline at Perth Arena two days ago and witnessed Matt Knight and Nathan Jawai suffer injuries that put them in some doubt for this game. The Wildcats themselves arrive in Wollongong wounded as a group after a morale shattering loss to another team that had a terrible record against in Townsville. The Wildcats have been a Champion team for 29 consecutive years and no matter who is suiting up for them, they will not play two bad games in a row and the Hawks will know that. Illawarra’s own record of two wins and two losses is not earth shattering in itself, but it is the way they are building that is impressive. To average 98 points over their last two games, with wins over reigning champs New Zealand and NSW rivals Sydney, were no flukes and the confidence is high around the club. To add Lisch to this high scoring squad is scary for the rest of the League.
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