INTENSITY. Intangibles. Intelligence.
A packed crowd at the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre saw all of these things on Saturday night.
Unfortunately for the home fans, the Albury-Wodonga Bandits were on the receiving end, copping a 91-68 mauling at the hands of Geelong.
The Border outfit had no answers in the first half to the hot-shooting Supercats, who maintained their place atop the SEABL’s East Conference with an eighth-straight win.
It was all the more galling for the Bandits that such a poor performance came on a night they honoured the memory of legend Allen McCowan and celebrated captain Michael Watson’s 100th game.
The Supercats dominated every category, smashing the Bandits on the glass 60-38 and outscoring them 56-24 in the paint.
Led by Nathan Herbert’s 24 points, Geelong enjoyed an even spread, with import Mike Mercer adding 24 and Nick Owusu and Alex Gynes 14 and 13 points respectively.
The Bandits were led by Jamar Briscoe with 18 points but only Alex Opacic (13 points, nine boards) and Nick Payne (11 points) provided much offensive help.
New import Lamar Mallory — despite just getting off a plane from the US — showed flashes of his athleticism, scoring two points and grabbing six rebounds in a 19-minute cameo off the bench.
“A really flat effort and that’s really disappointing,” a baffled and frustrated coach Brad Chalmers said.
“We didn’t come with the energy level required tonight — even from just an emotional standpoint — we clearly just went through the motions.
“No-one was emotive, no-one led with energy; Payney plays hard all the time but we don’t have that competitive fire from everyone else.
“That led to indecisive play and we couldn’t put any scoreboard pressure on them.
“It was potentially our worst game this season, we were just so disjointed.
“We just had guys who, when it got tough, didn’t want to push through and that was frustrating.”
The Bandits opened proceedings through Payne but it was the visitors who settled better, taking a 24-17 advantage at quarter-time.
An inability to finish started to bite the Bandits in the second quarter, a Herbert bomb extending Geelong’s lead to 42-27 with four minutes left.
Up 52-34 at half-time, the Supercats had an answer every time the Bandits threatened, going out by 26 with one to play.
Chalmers gave some of his bench extended minutes, with Jacob Cincurak again comfortable as he nailed two triples in his career-high eight points.