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Wildcats not thinking about greatness yet

NZN 3/03/2017 Justin Chadwick

Perth Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson is urging his players to maintain their steely focus, saying they can reminisce about how great they are when they're retired and relaxing on their rocking chairs.

The Wildcats will secure back-to-back NBL titles with a victory over the Illawarra Hawks at Perth Arena on Sunday.

Perth lead the best-of-five series 2-0, and are hot favourites to complete a clean sweep.

The Wildcats haven't won back-to-back titles since their double success in 1990 and 1991.

If Perth can match that feat this season, it would be all the more remarkable given they were sitting in last spot in December and were forced to deal with a crippling injury crisis.

But Gleeson isn't thinking about the team's greatness just yet, and he doesn't want his players to either.

"I think that's something you can reminisce about when you finish your career," Gleeson said.

"We're certainly in the midst of it.

"We have a tremendous amount of respect for Wollongong.

"They can shoot, they can defend and we know that we're going to have to play really well on Sunday to win and that's our focus.

"When we finish and retire and we are out on the porch on the rocking chair, we can think back about what we achieved."

Wildcats forward Matt Knight remains in doubt to play on Sunday after copping a head knock in Wednesday night's win in Wollongong.

If Knight is given the green light to play, he may be forced to wear a helmet given his long history of concussions.

The Hawks coughed up first-half leads in the opening two games of the series, and they've got no margin for error on Sunday.

Illawarra import Marvelle Harris was scoreless from just 12 minutes of action in game two.

Harris had only arrived back in Australia on the morning of that match, and Gleeson expects the 23-year-old to be far more potent in game three.

The Hawks rallied from a 1-0 deficit to beat Adelaide during the semi-finals, and Illawarra co-captain Oscar Forman said his team had the potential to launch a comeback against the Wildcats too.

"We are so good when our backs are against the wall and we are so good when we have no other choice but to win," Forman told the NBL website.

Gleeson is itching to wrap up the series - literally.

Wildcats players and coaches all vowed to grow their beards during the grand final series, but Gleeson is hanging out for a shave.

"Hopefully it's sooner rather than later," Gleeson said.

"Everyone is buying in.

"It's the beautiful part about coaching the team - there are no egos.

"Everyone is unselfish, everyone is working for each other. And when you get a team doing that it's a fun place to be."

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