Recently Jarrod McGrouther caught up with Rhys Martin to ask him a few questions about the upcoming 2017 Swisse NBL Finals Series against Adelaide:
Some think Adelaide are huge favourites for this series, but with a 3-1 regular season record in your favour, how confident is the squad of winning this series?
We like our chances. It’s a new ball game though, so that 3-1 doesn’t really mean anything. They have home court advantage and they’re doing a pretty good job selling out that stadium and making it noisy in there for other teams, so I don’t think the regular season comes into it at all now. We have to win one game on the road and take care of business at home, that’s our goal and that’s all we’re focused on.
With two of the most potent offenses in the league coming together, is it fair to say that the series will be won on the defensive end?
Definitely, it’s going to be a massive battle on the boards. At least one of the games it’s going to be a struggle shooting it, so the team that does the best job on the boards is probably going to win that game. There will probably be another one that will be high scoring, free flowing, but whoever can lock in defensively for the majority is probably going to win the series.
What are the logistics like this week?
The schedule is pretty good. It’s not really any different to a double header that you have throughout the year, so preparations are very much the same. It’ll just be that turnaround for the third game, getting ready for that is the biggest challenge if it goes that far, so there’s not really any change at all. We leave Wednesday and then we’ll come back the day after the game (Friday), train Saturday, play Sunday.
On a personal note, how does your leadership role differ at this time of the year?
Guys aren’t really too much different. We (Oscar Forman) just become a little bit more vocal so that we’re all organised and on the same page.
How is big Mike?
Mike’s good, the boys have recovered from the gastro and we have a pretty healthy roster. We’ve been pretty lucky with how this season has gone with injuries and sickness compared to last season, which was pretty tumultuous.
With the style that the team plays, in that the minutes are shared, do you think it’s something that gives you an edge heading into the finals?
It is a strength of our team that we can share the load amongst all 11 guys. Pretty much everybody has swapped starting positions at some point throughout the year. It has been a real strength of this group, that don’t really care who starts or who finishes or who plays for how long, you just play hard when you’re out there.
To return home for the game on Sunday with a 1-0 lead in this series, what do the Illawarra Hawks need to do in Adelaide?
Communication is key for us. If we get on the same page and we work defensively and rebound, we’ll take the crowd out of it. A real strength of any home court is a crowd that gets vocal, so taking the crowd out of the game and being switched on and communicating the whole time with whatever we’re doing is our game plan.