Crunch game for inconsistent Braves

HOW teams respond from a poor performance usually gives you a good idea of how unified they are.

Zach Atkinson

Zach Atkinson

That being the case, the performance of the Bendigo Braves against SEABL rival the Canberra Gunners at Bendigo Stadium on Saturday night will give a strong indication of where the Braves’ season is heading.

The fourth-placed Braves (6-6) couldn’t have played much worse in losing by 30 points to Dandenong last weekend.

Saturday night’s opponent Canberra (3-9) sit on the bottom of the south conference ladder and, on paper, appear to be longshots to beat the Braves.

If the Braves are to be considered top four contenders they should win, but if they serve up a similar performance to last week they’ll be staring down the barrel of a third loss in four games.

The key to the Braves chances is defence.  In their past three games they’ve given up more than 90 points.

Canberra has scored more than 90 points three times this season and won all three games.

Offensively, the Braves need to find a way to get the ball to centre Zach Atkinson more often.

Atkinson averages 18.7 points per game and leads the league in field goal percentage at an impressive 61 per cent.

In last week’s loss to Dandenong, Atkinson didn’t attempt a field goal in the first half.

Meanwhile, the Lady Braves should consolidate top spot on the women’s south conference ladder when it hosts bottom side Canberra on Saturday night.

The Lady Braves are coming off a 64-57 loss to Dandenong, but should outclass the winless Canberra side.

Chantella Perera (18.8), LaSondra Barrett (13.9), Kerryn Harrington (13.1), Lauren King (11.8) and Alex Bunton (11.7) are averaging double-figures in points for the Lady Braves, while Canberra has just two – Sarah McAppion (13.5) and Ellie Junod (10.8).

The Lady Braves game starts at 6pm, with the Braves and Gunners to follow at 8pm.

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