Hot welcome is the Bandit plan

IF there’s one thing the Albury-Wodonga Bandits desperately want to improve from last year’s disappointing SEABL campaign, it’s to make the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre a fortress again.

Starting now.

The Border club plays host to the Sandringham Sabres tomorrow night and coach Brad Chalmers admitted it was imperative the Bandits made things as uncomfortable as possible for visiting teams.

“Definitely, we had a bad year at home last season,” Chalmers said.

“We were OK on the road, I think we were nearly even, so we did a pretty good job there.

“But we just want to get back to making sure we make it extremely difficult for teams to win here.

“We’ve talked about it and foremost for us is to get on the board at home.

“We haven’t done that yet; we’re well-supported and we need to give those people a reason to come and do that.

“To come out a little flat and not be energised at home, we need to be mentally sharper.”

Coming off a gritty and short-handed win over Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence last week, the Bandits welcome back key frontcourt players Alex Opacic and Alex Bogart-King.

Both players will come off the bench, with Chalmers rewarding young forward Josh McKay with a second straight berth in the starting line-up.

“I think we match up pretty well against Sandy,” Chalmers said.

“So we feel confident that this is a game we should win.

“Alex (Opacic) has had an interrupted pre-season and his form has been up and down.

“So he needs to get himself going and the pressure is on him to make that happen.

“But I think both those guys (Opacic and Bogart-King) know they didn’t have a great first game and I think both will come out very motivated and give us a nice punch off the bench.”

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