ALBURY-WODONGA BANDITS: Time to shape up, coach says

Bandits’ coach Brad Chalmers lays down the law during his team’s clash with Geelong. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL
Bandits’ coach Brad Chalmers lays down the law during his team’s clash with Geelong. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL

IF you don’t buy in, you don’t play.

That’s the strong message from Albury-Wodonga Bandits coach Brad Chalmers and captain Michael Watson to the struggling Border outfit.

Chemistry has clearly been an issue in recent weeks for the Bandits, particularly among some of the leading Australian players and both Chalmers and Watson have had enough.

The Bandits held a long meeting at training on Tuesday night and the playing group was told in no uncertain terms what is expected of them for the rest of the SEABL season.

Essentially, the message was: play the right way or find yourself anchored to the bench, regardless of your standing in the team.

“We’ve had these conversations before but this was a real line in the sand,” Watson said.

“This time it was more about what everyone is like as a teammate and how their behaviour affects the team.

“I think it resonated but we’ll see over the next few weeks what effect it has.

“Hopefully it will change the culture of the team; we’re not even worried about results right now.

“I’m happy it’s been put out there and it’s up to those guys now.

“If they want to buy in, great; if not, it simply won’t be tolerated any more.”

Albury-Wodonga heads to Mount Gambier tonight for the first leg of a road double that also includes a trip to Sandringham tomorrow night for a clash with the Sabres.

The Bandits suffered a comprehensive 95-76 defeat to the South Conference-leading Pioneers at home in round five and with a highly talented starting line-up, Mount Gambier presents a formidable challenge at the Icehouse.

And Watson admitted the Bandits felt like they owed the Sabres some payback after Sandringham’s 87-76 win at the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre in round three.

“Mount Gambier is probably the best team in the South Conference,” Watson said.

“But they’d probably admit their play lately hasn’t been as great as it was earlier this season.

“We’re hoping they underestimate us a bit.

“But we’re definitely eyeing a split of the games.

“Against Sandringham, we feel like we let one slip, Nathan Crosswell got them over the line and we owe them one.

“We’re really not thinking about the results that much, it’s more how we come together as a team for both games.”