Dillon Boucher describes the relationship the Breakers have
with the Perth Wildcats as one of "mutual respect".
Others would describe it in stronger terms, given the rivalry
the two clubs have had over the years. Either way, the
Wildcats' new home court would be a great place for the
Breakers to increase their winning streak to eight games
tomorrow night (Thurs).
The two clubs fought a running battle last season, with
Wildcats coach Rob Beveridge, a man well-versed in using the
media to motivate his players, accusing Breakers' American
import Gary Wilkinson of over-celebrating.
The Breakers countered with suggestions their opponents were
fond of "flopping" in order to win fouls and also of
possessing a liking for the occasional cheap shot.
Beveridge's team have lost three in a row this season, but
created a stir when thrashing the Breakers on their own turf
in round one and their home crowd tend to reserve their best,
or worst, for the men from Auckland.
Professional sports teams should never want for motivation,
but there is no doubt there will be an edge to this one. The
defending champion Breakers are on a roll, the Wildcats
desperate for a win in their new home after losing their
opening game at the 12,000-seat Perth Arena against Adelaide
in the last round.
"It's a mutual respect, but neither team is going to give an
inch," said Boucher. "Any time you have an encounter like
that you're going to see fireworks and a feisty, hard,
Beveridge's latest gambit was to say his team were "playing
scared" and had to "man up", which Boucher is failing to fall
"I think it's the tactics of Rob Beveridge trying to fire his
players up. They're still a good team, we know they're good.
They beat us in the first round by 20-odd points. We're not
reading too much into their form ... the fact that they've
lost three in a row, if anything, means they're going to be
more dangerous. They'll be wanting to get their first win on
their home court."
Boucher was hopeful centre Will Hudson will be available
after rolling an ankle in training this week. The American
walked with a limp at Auckland Airport before their direct
flight to Perth this afternoon (Wed), but is still in the
frame. A decision will be made just before tip-off.
As for the streak, and the possibility of equalling their
best ever run, the Breakers aren't taking much notice of it,
according to Boucher.
"We don't make too much out of streaks and things like that.
We just try to win every game. The fact that we've won seven
in a row is a byproduct of that. This game is no different
... even talking about a three-peat, we don't talk about that
"The key is always defence. Our defence has been good in the
last few weeks and that ignites our offence. If we can slow
them down and take care of the ball, that's the other