Don’t mention the R-word

WODONGA Wolves coach Mick Hickey says last year’s grand final loss to Shepparton hadn’t been mentioned ahead of tonight’s showdown with the Gators.

But he admitted it would be a factor.

The Border side will shoot for the CBL’s North East Conference title at home tonight against the side that stunned it in the same game last year.

And while both team’s boast vastly different line-ups this time around, Hickey said it would be unrealistic to think his players had completely forgotten about last year.

“There are only four or five players in this year’s team who played in that game but it doesn’t really matter what group of players you have,” Hickey said.

“They’ll always be looking for revenge, particularly when you’re playing against the same team.

“It hasn’t been mentioned, though.

“We’ve just focused on what we need to do to win this one.”

Hickey, in his first season as coach, said it was vital the Wolves got off to a flyer at the Leisure Centre this evening.

Tip-off is at 8pm.

“We need to start well,” he said.

“They’ve got a couple of guys who are capable of doing plenty of damage if they light it up early and get confidence.

“Defensively we need to contain them.”

Hickey cited Shepparton duo Matt Bartlett and Zaine Allen as one of the main dangers.

“They’ll try to run our guys off their feet at the guard spots,” he said.

“Trev McLean, Adam Hickey and Heath Ohlin will all rotate through.

“Everyone is fit and firing. The boys trained well.”

Hickey said while Shepparton had flown under the radar, the Wolves were still more than confident of getting the job done.

“I feel like we’ve got the offensive power — across the board — to get it done,” he said.

“We’ve shown that all year.”

The winner of tonight’s clash will progress to the state final at Bendigo next weekend.

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