Basketball | Hunters coach Shannon Seebohm has warned his players not to take Penrith Panthers lightly

NEWCASTLE Hunters coach Shannon Seebohm has warned his players not to take Penrith Panthers lightly in their Waratah Basketball League women’s game at Penrith on Saturday.

The Hunters are on a four-game winning streak, which includes an 81-22 thumping of the Panthers at Broadmeadow on April 28, but Seebohm stressed that would count for nothing in the rematch at Penrith.

Fourth-placed Newcastle (5-3) had a bye last weekend and will be keen to stretch their winning streak to five and maintain pressure on the teams above them on the ladder.

Penrith have lost six on the trot and are last with a 1-8 record but will welcome back three key players – point guard Binta Salawu and sisters Natalia and Tatiana Beaumont – who missed the rout in Newcastle three weeks ago.

“The danger for us is that after picking up a win by such a big margin last time we met, that some complacency will creep in this time around,” Seebohm said.

“Penrith have three starters back that didn’t play last time we saw them, so we need to ensure that we give them the appropriate amount of respect and come ready to compete if we want to give ourselves the best chance of picking up another road win.”

We need to ensure that we give them the appropriate amount of respect and come ready to compete.

SHANNON SEEBOHM

Hunters men’s coach Darren Nichols will welcome back playmaker Josh Morgan from a calf injury for their game against Penrith on Saturday night.

RETURN: Josh Morgan

RETURN: Josh Morgan

But Newcastle will be without explosive guard Jakob Dorricott, who sustained an ankle injury in the 90-69 victory over Manly-Warringah last Saturday.

The second-placed Hunters (8-2) have won three straight and four of their past five, including a 96-73 victory over Penrith at Broadmeadow three weeks ago.

Nichols was critical of his players after that game because they slackened off in the second quarter.

He has challenged them to play with more intensity and commitment against lower-placed teams they are expected to beat.

Penrith (2-7) are 10th but were last-start winners, having beaten bottom-placed Bankstown Bruins (0-9) 74-64 at Bankstown last Saturday.

“We are nicely placed at the half-way stage of the competition but if we feel like we are a team wanting to make the play-offs this season, this is a must-win game for us,” Nichols said.

“The other thing we are trying to really push with the boys now is how we play, and how hard we play, and how we go about achieving our wins, because that is crucial to any long-term success we hope to achieve this season.”