ALBURY-WODONGA BANDITS: Excitement builds for Bandits after weekend turnaround

THE Albury-Wodonga Bandits might be out of the SEABL playoff race but they still have every intention of trying to make sure other teams miss out, too.

Sitting sixth in the East conference, the Border outfit hopes to upend the fifth-placed Brisbane Spartans tonight and end the Queenslanders’ flickering post-season hopes.

After tonight’s clash at the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre, the Bandits will hit the road tomorrow to take on the Frankston Blues, another club teetering on the playoff bubble.

Bandits veteran Nick Payne said there has been a noticeably different attitude around the team this week after last Friday’s upset win over the Kilsyth Cobras.

“We’re hanging in there,” Payne said.

“Hopefully we can string a few wins together and wreck some other teams’ seasons.

“It’s just been a completely different vibe, much more relaxed, almost like a sigh of relief because we’ve been working so hard at training.

“Guys are excited again and we’re starting to find some cohesion.

“If we can play defence like that again this week, we’re a great chance in both games.

“Our defence has been our Achilles heel all year so we need to lock down like that again against two good offensive teams.”

One of the big keys to the Bandits’ fortunes will be replacement import Lamar Mallory who has shown some impressive signs of late.

After a settling-in period, the athletic forward-centre has averaged 18.8 points and 10.3 rebounds per game over the past four contests.

“Lamar has been doing really well,” Payne said.

“It’s really tough to come into a situation like this.

“But he gives us high energy and a presence around the basket, something we haven’t had a lot of this season.”

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