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Red hot Hawks look for win in NZ

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 27/11/2016 Brad Elborough

The Illawarra Hawks are one of the form sides in the NBL, having won four of their past five games and five of their past seven. The Hawks knocked off reigning champions, the Perth Wildcats 89-85 in Perth on Sunday, breaking a 25-game losing streak in WA, a week after being the New Zealand Breakers - the team Perth beat to win last season's title. Illawarra is now fourth on the ladder and can push ahead of the loser of this Thursday's game against the Wildcats and Brisbane with a win of their own on Friday night. They just need to beat the Breakers again, in New Zealand, to achieve that. "Look at the week before we beat the Breakers; we went to New Zealand and played terrible," Hawks guard Rhys Martin said of the 100-85 loss suffered across the ditch. "The challenge is, yes we beat New Zealand and yes we beat Perth, but can we continue to play well week after week and be mentally tough? "That's our challenge. Not so much beating the big teams, but ourselves, consistently being the best." Martin applauded his side for being able to overcome the loss of Marvelle Harris, who missed the game against Perth due to an ankle injury. Harris, who will be available for the trip to Auckland, is Illawarra's second highest scorer this season behind Rontei Clarke. Tim Coenraad stepped up to score a season-high 18 points and was one of six Hawks to reach double figures, led by Clarke's 20. Illawarra coach Rob Beveridge highlighted his side's ability to share the ball around and reach 24 assists against the Cats, the same as they achieved against the Breakers last week. But it was in rebounding that he was most proud. The Hawks grabbed 40 boards against arguably the best rebounding side in the competition and restricted the Cats to just 29.

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