NBL1 mid-season review: Albury Wodonga Bandits

IN the mid-season break, Basketball Draft Central takes a look at each National Basketball League (NBL)1 team in both the men’s and women’s competition and will analyse how they have performed to date, some of their top performers, and the run home to see if they can make finals. Today we analyse the Albury Wodonga Bandits, with the women on the verge of the top eight, while the men are hoping to finish strong after a mid-season slump.

Men:

Position: 15th
Wins: 5
Losses: 7

Home: 3-3
Away: 2-4
Last 10: 3-7

Points For: 1085
Points Against: 1157
Percentage: 93.8
Points: 15

Summary:

The Albury Wodonga Bandit’s men’s side started the season strongly, but has faded over the past two months, slipping to fifteenth on the table with seven losses in the past 10 games after having a nice run of wins to start the season. They now sit five games behind top spot, and with eight matches remaining would need to win the majority of those to have any chance of making finals. Their percentage has remained intact thanks to some tight games, with Ken-Jah Bosley the big difference on court, averaging 23.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game. But there is some competition with partner-in-crime Torren Jones giving him a run for his money in the best and fairest, playing every game and averaging 20.4 points per game as well as 13.9 rebounds, standing out as a premier player off the boards. The other player worth mentioning so far is Deba George who has been consistent in every game with an average of 17.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game, being the playmaker within the team in the forward half.

The run home:

R10: Bendigo Braves (H)
R11: Southern Sabres (A) | Ballarat Miners (A)
R12: Frankston Blues (H)
R13: Eltham Wildcats (H)
R14: Bendigo Braves (A) | Dandenong Rangers (H)
R15: Knox Raiders (H)

While the Bandits need arguably at least six wins to secure a finals spot, that is easier said than done with a tough draw on the run home. They play five games against top nine sides – including two against ninth placed Bendigo Braves. They do take on Southern Sabres and Knox Raiders, as well as Eltham Wildcats which are all winnable games, but the Bandits will need to take a big scalp or two in the final eight games if they are to squeeze into the top eight.

Women:

Position: 9th
Wins: 6
Losses: 6

Home: 3-3
Away: 3-3
Last 10: 5-5

Points For: 911
Points Against: 917
Percentage: 99.3
Points: 18

Summary:

The Albury Wodonga Bandit’s women’s side is in better shape than the men’s despite having lost their last three games. They too started the season on fire, slipped a little, recovered and have fallen back in the past three games. They have a chance to still make finals however with a more even mid-table than in the men’s. With Geelong and Bendigo the two standout teams, just four games separates third from twelfth meaning there are a number of sides who can still clamber into the top eight. The Bandits have an even contribution at the top, with 11 of the 12 games featuring the same five starters. Cherise Daniel averages 15.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.8 steals, while Natalie Hurst (15.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.1 steals), Jessie Edwards (15.2 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists), Emma Mahady (12. points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.8 steals) and Emilee Harmon (10.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists) have all been strong players in the starting line-up.

The run home:

R10: Bendigo Braves (H)
R11: Southern Sabres (A) | Ballarat Rush (A)
R12: Frankston Blues (H)
R13: Eltham Wildcats (H)
R14: Bendigo Braves (A) | Dandenong Rangers (H)
R15: Knox Raiders (H)

The side has some seriously tough teams in the run home with just one side in the bottom six (Southern Sabres), and four of the final eight games against three of the top four sides. They must win games against Eltham Wildcats (eighth), Frankston Blues (tenth) and Ballarat Rush (twelfth) with those sides in the same boat battling for a top eight spot, turning it into a massive set of games. An upset win against Bendigo Braves next round could reignite the Bandits’ season, while a likely loss could have them two games outside the top eight.

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