ALBURY-WODONGA BANDITS: Chalmers urges club to keep on winning

JUST keep winning.

That’s the message from a bullish Albury-Wodonga Bandits coach Brad Chalmers.

The Bandits are enjoying a modest three-game winning streak, but given the earlier struggles in their SEABL campaign, Chalmers wants to ride that momentum for as long as possible.

Triumphs over Kilsyth, Brisbane and Frankston has seen the Border club pull itself out of the mire of a potential wooden spoon battle with Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence and the Knox Raiders.

“(We’re) just trying to make the most of every opportunity,” Chalmers said.

“We want it to snowball for us and try to offset some of the big hole we dug for ourselves earlier in the season.

“This week we have a formidable opponent but it’s also a good chance to play our style.

“We need to be respectful of their considerable talent levels.”

Albury-Wodonga hosts Hobart tomorrow night, with the Tasmanian outfit in disarray after sacking import Zac White and coach Paul Davie on Wednesday night, with assistant coach Chris Symons also resigning.

Former Lady Chargers mentor Willie Joseph will take the reins for the rest of the season, with the Chargers sitting at the bottom of the South Conference after six straight losses.

Regardless, Chalmers said the Bandits still needed to be mindful of Hobart’s offensive firepower, especially explosive guard Deba George, who is third in the league’s scoring race with 24.5 points per game.

The battle between George and Bandits guard Nick Payne — who has also been in a rich vein of form — will be a match-up to watch.

“Again, controlling the tempo and taking away their strengths will be key,” Chalmers said.

“Their guard play is crucial, we can’t let them get off the leash so we’ll make our adjustments and try to make sure they don’t get to do what’s comfortable for them.

“Payney has been ultra-efficient, it’s like how he was playing at the back-end of 2012.

“Physically, he’s as good as he’s ever been, he’s owned his one-on-one match-ups and played with a physical intent.

“That’s flowed on to his confidence and he really should be getting more reward from the refs for that.”

Having plumbed the depths of a seven-game losing streak, Chalmers said the Bandits had taken much from their “line in the sand” team meeting several weeks ago.

Chalmers admitted team harmony had improved markedly, making it far easier to withstand the patches of erratic play that still trouble the Bandits on occasion.

“We’re pretty confident, I have been for a while but it’s been frustrating with so much poor play,” Chalmers said.

“But the past few weeks, when we’ve been challenged, the collective belief has been really noticeable.

“The old issues just aren’t there, we’re playing smarter and the confidence is high, which keeps on growing the more you win.

“So the feeling is we’re bulletproof until someone knocks us over.

“We’ve been through the crap, we just need to push on and get as many wins as possible.”

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