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Wildcats use experience ahead of NZ clash

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 20/01/2017 Brad Elborough
Image of Wildcats © Getty Images Image of Wildcats

The Perth Wildcats will draw on last season's successful finals series against New Zealand to prepare for the quick turnaround required before playing the Breakers in Auckland on Sunday.

The Wildcats won an epic encounter against the Cairns Taipans in overtime at the Perth Arena on Friday night.

But they had to quickly turn their attention Sunday's clash with New Zealand, who has the same number of wins as them (11) having played one more game (23).

Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson said the experience of last season's Grand Final series against the Breakers will be beneficial in their preparation.

The Cats won at home in game one of that series, lost in Auckland two days later, but won the deciding third game, back in Perth, two days after that.

"This is the toughest road trip, without question," Gleeson said.

"We play, then have to jump on a plane tomorrow. We get in at midnight, their time, so won't get to sleep until three or four in the morning.

"Five hours time change, so it's the toughest you get.

"Most of our guys did it last year in the play off, so they know what to expect; know how to take care of the body. We have to teach the new guys how to take care of that.

"It's a more enjoyable flight, for the coaches and players (after the win over the Taipans)."

One Wildcat used the clash against Cairns on Friday night to carry on his recent momentum and remind the NBL what he is capable of.

Centre Angus Brandt stood up at both ends of the court in a game when his side most needed him to. The 208cm Brandt finished with a season-high 17 points and 11 rebounds. His game was highlighted by some outstanding defence on Taipans big man Nate Jawai.

Brandt has averaged just over 11 minutes a game this season, but played 21 minutes and scored 12 points against the Taipans last week - then back up with 30 minutes of court time on Friday night.

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