PATIENCE and aggression.
These are the two key ingredients for the Albury-Wodonga Bandits when they take on traditional contenders the Geelong Supercats on Sunday afternoon at the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre.
Following a disappointing nine-point defeat to the Dandenong Rangers in their SEABL season opener last Saturday, coach Brad Chalmers and his squad face a similarly powerful opponent this weekend.
But Chalmers was confident the Border club could defeat the Supercats in Albury for the first time since 2003 if his players eliminated the lapses that cost them dearly against the Rangers.
“Training this week has been all about that,” Chalmers said.
“The good thing was we made similar mistakes at training that we did on Saturday so we were able to look at that and address it.
“Probably a lack of pre-season games hurt us a little bit, to be able to work on those things outside of a practice environment.”
In a boost for the defending champions, the Supercats will make the lengthy trek to Albury following what Chalmers hoped would be an exhausting home encounter with the Sandringham Sabres tomorrow night.
Regardless of that result, however, Geelong presents a formidable challenge, with two quality US imports in Theron Wilson and Mike Mercer, as well as former NBL players Nathan Herbert and Ash Cannan.
As much as Saturday’s defensive lapses frustrated Chalmers, the second-year mentor said his players also needed to be aware of maintaining a crisp offensive balance against a Supercats outfit that combined aggressive pressing and trapping with a solid zone defence.
Taking a pragmatic view of last week’s first-up defeat, Chalmers was more than happy to admit he was still confident of the Bandits squaring their win-loss ledger.
“Very much so, I think we’re in a good spot,” Chalmers said.
“It was obviously disappointing against Dandenong but apart from a three- or four-minute stretch I thought we could’ve won the game.
“But we had some breakdowns offensively and then defensively over the course of the game we weren’t sharp.
“If we can take them (Geelong) out of their comfort zone I think we can get the win, especially if we improve in those areas last week where we were poor.”