NBL 2014/15 Round 5 Preview: Breakers to complete Sunshine Swing against Crocs

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Townsville Crocodiles vs. New Zealand Breakers

Sunday 9th November, tip-off 4pm (local time)

Townsville RSL Stadium

Tickets: Click here

Odds: Townsville $1.86; New Zealand $1.94

Coming off what was the Breakers second massive win of the season (also Perth round 1), New Zealand will be looking to complete their Queensland road double with a victory over the high energy Townsville Crocodiles.

While the Breakers got the job done in Cairns thanks to their dominance inside, this situation proves much more difficult. Having to come up against the likes of Crocs import duo Mickell Gladness and Brian Conklin means that points in the paint will come at a premium.

Fortunately for the visitors, Gladness is currently under an injury cloud (finger) which could force head coach Shawn Dennis to rotate his roster, if Gladness is unable to step on the court.

Townsville are currently on their own early season resurgence, knocking off the highly fancied Perth Wildcats just a week ago. Guards Steven Markovic and Mitch Norton will be looking to shut down Cedric Jackson, just like they did the week prior to Jermaine Beal and Damian Martin.

Key Player

Leon Henry

If there has been a bigger game than this one in Henry's young NBL career, it certainly has been for different reasons. Today, Henry will have the daunting task of trying to contain the in-form Ekene Ibekwe if Gladness is a no-go.

Henry's impact minutes off the bench will become vital if the Crocs are any chance of containing the paint, with the relatively new Crocs man having to match-up on E-Beks while Alex Pledger is on the floor.

The Breakers tandem will provide plenty of headaches for the home side and it will be the combination of Henry, Greg Vanderjagt and Jacob Holmes throughout the second and third quarters when bench minutes are maximised.

What To Watch For

Deep Shooting

While all the talk has come for the big men matching up against one another, it simply could be put that both teams will cancel each other out.

This means the game will be won from beyond the arc; which team will shoot better from international waters?

The game features a bunch of players who are up near the pinnacle of three point shooting in the competition. The likes of Corey Webster, Rhys Carter, Clint Steindl, Steven Markovic and Todd Blanchfield will give the nets at each end lots of work to do.

However, surely the home court advantage gives a slight edge to the boys in green.

Final Word

Completing the double up north is a hard feat to conquer these days, especially when both sides are at the top of their game. The Breakers have half the job ticked off, however they would have done so with a lot of energy taken out of the bank.

Can the Crocs pounce on a tiring New Zealand outfit? How close to game time will we receive confirmation on Mickell Gladness? There are a few questions to be answered in this game which provides plenty for the viewer; another Round 5 cracker is sure to come!

Crocs by 2