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R3 Preview: Townsville v Illawarra

The Townsville Crocodiles return to the Swamp for the first time since Round One and host the Illawarra Hawks in another critical matchup.

The Crocodiles are the only team yet to win at home this year due mainly to a brutal road schedule of five games that ended on a high with a rare win in Perth. With one of the best comebacks in League history, the fighting spirit they have been trying to instill was evident in spades last Friday night. It was the sort of passionate performance that will spur on Townsville to greater heights and being back in front of their home town would be a great way to keep building that positive energy.

Townsville are coming into this game with winning form on the road and the Hawks lost their last game at home.

Illawarra’s loss to the Wildcats in Wollongong on Sunday sure was an entertaining affair from a spectators perspective with a season high 205 points scored and they are smashing league records left right and centre with their high octane offense based from the three-point line.

One man who is major part of that attack is Captain Oscar Forman. The five time NBL three-point percentage leader is continuing that streak at an incredible 55.2% and he celebrates his 150th game as a Hawk with some red hot perimeter form.

What has helped Forman out this year is the addition of Kirk Penney and Kevin Lisch but really everybody has a license to shoot in Rob Beveridge’s system.

The most impressive part about Townsville’s wins this year is that they have not relied on their big stars each time to perform. Brian Conklin has not been at the peak of his powers and starting centre Luke Schenscher missed their last win through injury. It has been a wide variety of contributions from Corey Maynard, Mitch Norton, Leon Henry and Mitch Young that have been the most encouraging features of the Crocodiles fortunes and does bade well for the future.

Townsville are the lowest scoring team in the League while Illawarra currently rank second best with 15 points between them. Another huge difference for the young Crocs to make up but a task they continue to pass each challenge they face.

BY THE NUMBERS

Head-to-head: 79 games played Crocs won 32 Hawks won 47

In Townsville: 40 games played Crocs won 23 Hawks won 17

FAST FACTS

HOME ADVANTAGE - Townsville have beaten the Hawks in 10 of the last 11 home games. Last year in Round 7, the Crocs beat the Hawks by 32 which was Illawarra’s second biggest ever loss in Townsville and the home side’s 107 points was their highest score of the season.

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