MATCH-winning form for the Albury-Wodonga Bandits this SEABL campaign has been like trying to catch smoke — frustratingly elusive.
Any time the Border club has found even a modicum of cohesion, it has vanished just as quickly and the past six weeks has been a microcosm of the season.
A season-high three-game winning streak turned into a three-game losing streak in the blink of an eye, leaving the Bandits second-last in the East conference.
With three rounds to play, Albury-Wodonga heads to the nation’s capital tomorrow for a clash with South conference cellar-dwellers Canberra.
But the Gunners will be no pushovers, having won nine games and still only two games out of the final play-off spot.
Veteran Nick Payne, in what will likely be his second-last match, admitted the Bandits desperately needed to regain the chemistry they had worked so hard to find earlier this year.
“We need to bounce back with a win,” Payne said.
“But not just with a win — we need to bounce back with form and cohesion.
“We had a really good stretch where we played really well.
“But unfortunately in recent weeks, we seem to have gone away from what got us those positive results.”
Riding a three-game losing run of its own, the Gunners still have a talented line-up, led by US imports Garlon Green and Matt Staff.
Green, the brother of 2007 NBA slam-dunk champion Gerald, is the league’s fourth-leading scorer at 23.4 points a game while Staff has been a steady second option with 15.9 points and 10.1 boards a contest.
“Canberra will be tough, very tough,” Payne said.
“They’ve got a very good team and it’s a really hard place to win.
“They’ve got a couple of quality imports surrounded by a good core of Australian players.
“It’s a tough ask for us and we’ll absolutely need to bring our A-game for this one.”
After a couple of vintage defensive performances during their winning streak, the Bandits conceded an average of 101 points a game in losses to Hobart, Bendigo and Dandenong.
Payne acknowledged that needed to be addressed if the Border club wanted to claim its third victory on the road for the year.
“It’s not so much about what they do,” Payne said.
“It’s all about us, sticking to the structures that we know get us good results.
“Especially at the defensive end, we have to stop teams scoring so easily on us.
“We’ve gone away from that and we need to get it back.”