Bendigo Bank Spirit coach warns team

BENDIGO Bank Spirit coach Bernie Harrower has given his side a stern warning ahead of tonight’s clash with fourth-placed Townsville.

The Spirit are sitting pretty on top of the WNBL ladder, but Harrower had reason for concern at training this week.

“I was disappointed with training on Wednesday night... the girls were flat and I got stuck into them about being ready every night,’’ Harrower said yesterday.

“We need to lift the standards. We’re only five weeks out from finals now and just because we’re in the top two we can’t take things easy.

“There’s no easy games in this league and we have to have the right attitude every night.

“We need to be working harder than everybody else if we’re to maintain our edge.

“If we’re going to miss out it needs to be because we’re not good enough, not because we didn’t work hard enough.”

Harrower’s pep talk comes ahead of tonight’s crucial home game against Townsville – one of only two teams to defeat the Spirit this season.

The Fire defeated the Spirit 56-52 in a scrappy encounter in Townsville in November.

“It was one of our poorest performances,’’ Harrower said.

“Even though we kept them to 56 points that night I thought we were poor defensively and our offence just wasn’t good enough.

“Townsville did a great job that night, but that game we were on the back of a really tough stretch of games against top sides.

“We were flat and just didn’t have the energy.

“We’ve been pretty good since that game... I’m confident you’ll see a different game tomorrow night to the game in Townsville.”

The Spirit will again be without back-up guard Chantella Perrera, who continues to be hampered by a back injury.

Star point guard Kristi Harrower is expected to play, despite ongoing soreness in her Achilles.

“Kristi hasn’t trained competitively this week, she’s only been shooting,’’ Bernie Harrower said.

“We’ve kept her off her Achilles all week. I’d rather her not train and try to get it right for the finals.

“At the moment she’s still playing... we’ll just get her through games in the hope she will be better for finals.

“There’s no point her going hard at it training wise now and then losing her for the finals.”

Tonight’s game starts at 7.30pm.

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