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NBL 2014/15 Round 1 Preview: New look Breakers face early test in Perth
Perth Wildcats vs New Zealand
Friday 10th October, 2014 - 6:30pm (local time)
Tickets: Click Here
Season 2014/15 has been brewing for a long time for NBL fans and finally round one has arrived. Perth face New Zealand on opening night in what should be an early preview for spectators of all clubs to see where these two clubs are at as we enter the Summer.
For the Wildcats, it’s a statement of let’s do exactly what we did last season, with the exception of finding suitable replacements for James Ennis’ production. New Zealand on the other hand, are in awe of the return of their star of their most recent championships, Cedric Jackson.
Many questions are there to be answered in the first few weeks of the year for both of these teams: How does DeAndre Daniels fill the Ennis factor and its expectations that come with it? Can Cedric Jackson re-enter the league at MVP level despite a lack of recent game time? Will the American heavy Wildcats have the mental strength to go back-to-back? All of these pose serious thoughts in NBL fans minds.
The next step is answering them. Both clubs have high expectations this season, however only one can win a championship.
Cedric Jackson #166408451 / gettyimages.com Jackson has been mentioned above regarding his return to the NBL, however the last time ‘Ced’ was in the league there was no import class like the level of talent we have on our shores this season.
With talent comes responsibility, and that’s exactly what Jackson has in his hands in terms of the Breakers season. Hopes are well and truly based on how Cedric Jackson can perform on the big stage and what better way to kick off his return with a trip to the defending champions.
Jackson will have to fend off last year’s Defensive Player of the Year Damian Martin in what will be an enticing match-up, with the Wildcats' stopper proving to be a thorn in many a superstar's side over the years. How Jackson performs under Martin's pressure will go a long way to determining the Breakers' fate in this contest.
What To Watch For
The age old saying in sports, how will the reigning premier fare in their first game back from a championship the year before? In this case, it’s the Perth Wildcats raising the banner in round one, with the pleasure of a home fixture to open the season.
With the majority of the team returning for another year, we don’t see the Wildcats mucking around too much to start this game as their team chemistry, along with being run by the ultimate professional in Trevor Gleeson.
A first quarter meltdown would be extremely un-Wildcat like and it looks like the ‘Cats should jump out of the gates fast in this contest.
Championship Hangover? Don’t count on it.
The Perth Wildcats may have a slight distraction by raising championship banner number six inside the Perth Arena, however it’s all business from then on in.
The likes of Beal, Martin, Redhage and the improvement of Wagstaff will be too strong for the Breakers who will be missing Tom Abercrombie (hernia surgery) and Alex Pledger (toe) to injury.
New Zealand are hoping Pledger can find his feet sooner rather than later, as rumblings are coming out that the Breakers may send the big man in for additional surgery, but he will be a big loss in this clash against the big presence of Matt Knight and Tom Jervis inside.
While it's only round one and the Wildcats won't want to peak too early, Perth will be far too good for a depleted Breakers outfit here.
Perth by 11