After a 14-day hiatus due to Covid, Melbourne United are raring to go as the side takes on the in-form New Zealand Breakers tonight in Tasmania
Melbourne United forward Mason Peatling and coach Dean Vickerman spoke to the media during the week ahead of United's matches against the Breakers and Hawks this weekend.
Although it's been a strange two weeks for United, Peatling said it's given them that extra time to look over the match against the JackJumpers.
"It’s been a weird couple of weeks for us but following the game at Tassie, we have had a chance to look at that now and getting everyone back into the swing of things this week.
"We’re looking forward to playing the two games this weekend so it should be an exciting time."
United were originally scheduled to play the Illawarra Hawks last Sunday but Covid threw a spanner in the works although the change of opponent hasn't affected the side's preparation.
"I think the way professional basketball is at the moment all over the world, you’ve got to be dynamic and go with the flow.
"You can do a couple of things here and there in terms of preparing for specific teams, but New Zealand is one of the in-form teams at the moment.
"They had a great game against Brisbane and we’re really looking forward to testing ourselves against them then following on that Illawarra on Sunday."
Melbourne United's last match was in Tasmania when they took on the newcomers in the Tasmanian JackJumpers on New Years Day. Playing back in Tasmania gives the side some confidence but it's a new set of challenges.
"It builds the confidence but in saying that was against another team on a different time of the year and every trip is different and this one because it’s a doubleheader with two games in three days it will be a little bit different.
"We play with a lot of confidence and I’m sure we’ll pull something together and take on the Breakers."
Before the Covid causing hiatus, United were as close to fully fit as they have been all season with the return of Jack White, which has made a big impact on the team's performance.
"I just think it gives us a chance to show how many guys we have on this team that are talented and capable. Getting Jack White back was a huge boost for our group CG [Chris Goulding] a couple of games earlier.
"With the full squad together, it allows us to show how we play well together and we’re building that chemistry and the more games we can get in together as a group will help us going forward."
Coach Dean Vickerman said that it's allowed for the pressure on the team in terms of players like White pushing for a starting spot.
"I think they’re the rewards that we strive for every week, if someone from our second unit is doing their role extremely well and outplaying someone consistently on the starting group then they should be able to get to start if the team believes that’s the best thing to help us get a win.
"We got a good competitive nature but peoples roles are fairly well established in what we need from them it’s just at which time of the game do we put different groups on the floor.
"Obviously having Jack White come back recently we’ve seen some adjustments there with our forward and small forward spot."
Although the Breakers started the season with a 0-6 win-loss record a win over the Brisbane Bullets showed how dangerous they can be, with United preparing for an in form Breakers outfit.
"I think so, you go even for us early in the year with preseason, the first couple of games you know how hard you’re fighting every day during practice just to get a win, but you need to see the rewards.
"From all reports this team (New Zealand) really focused on their defence over the last couple of weeks, they go to Brisbane and hold them to a really good total.
"We don’t take this team lightly at all, we understand that they are super talented and when they put the team together pre-season everyone was predicting them to be a play-off kind of team.
"This teams got Yanni Wetzell who’s been playing great and [Jeremiah]Martin who’s been distributing well and other threats on the floor, so they’ll challenge our scouting in different areas.
"We look forward to the challenge."
Melbourne United will face the New Zealand Breakers tonight at 7:30 before taking on the Illawarra Hawks on Sunday in Wollongong