Giants bounce back with key victory on home court against highly-rated Senators

Neale HarveyKalgoorlie Miner
Giants' Manylok Malek jumps past Senators' Bryan Michaels during the NBL1 West men's clash in Kalgoorlie-Boulder on Saturday night.
Camera IconGiants' Manylok Malek jumps past Senators' Bryan Michaels during the NBL1 West men's clash in Kalgoorlie-Boulder on Saturday night. Credit: Carwyn Monck/Kalgoorlie Miner

Goldfields Giants coach Wayne Creek has lauded Saturday night’s 91-78 NBL1 victory over a highly-rated Warwick Senators but said it was only achieved after a week of soul-searching.

Creek, who is plotting the Giants’ return to the playoffs for the first time in three years, said a sub-par display a week earlier in Geraldton convinced him that mental lapses were all that was holding back his squad from major success in 2022.

An 85-75 road loss the previous weekend against the Buccaneers while Creek was self-isolating because of COVID-19 sparked honest discussions and a reinforcement that roster spots were not a given and had to be earned.

The response was a decisive Giants win on a night when across-the-board contributions were led by Jesse Ghee (22 points; five rebounds; six assists; four steals), Gairges Daow (28 points; four rebounds; two steals) and imports Hussayn Ford (12 rebounds; two steals) and Lafonzo Smith (13 points; five rebounds).

Giants' Melusi Mkhwananzi looks to push past Senators' Jarrod Hodge during round 6 of the NBL1 West men's season
Camera IconGiants' Melusi Mkhwananzi looks to push past Senators' Jarrod Hodge during round 6 of the NBL1 West men's season Credit: Carwyn Monck/Kalgoorlie Miner/Kalgoorlie Miner

“The boys played very well (against Warwick) as a unit, very hard and very intense,” Creek said.

“We basically did a two-hour video on Tuesday night and didn’t actually hit the court — there was some pretty open and honest dialogue and (discussions) about what we’re doing, not doing and should be doing.

“When you watch film, it doesn’t lie and it’s very easy to put guys on the spot.

‘”Those video sessions normally only go 45 minutes but we devoted two hours, where I basically questioned the group’s commitment.”

After the Giants’ division one squad also lost in Geraldton, Creek reiterated the message on Saturday.

“We trained really hard on Wednesday and Thursday,” Creek said.

“But on Saturday I raised the issues again because I also wasn’t happy with the division one performance the previous Saturday in Geraldton when we had eight from our main playing group in that (team) and we were comprehensively beaten.

Goldfields Giants’ coach Wayne Creek speaks to his players during round 6 of the NBL1 West men's season
Camera IconGoldfields Giants’ coach Wayne Creek speaks to his players during round 6 of the NBL1 West men's season Credit: Carwyn Monck/Kalgoorlie Miner/Kalgoorlie Miner

“That (loss) went with reports from the (division one ) coaches that players weren’t taking it seriously.

“My reaction was to remind every player that nothing is guaranteed and you don’t just earns spots by training well (because) it’s also how you play.”

Creek said a requirement of playing in the NBL1 was a high level of professionalism that shone through against Warwick.

“I know we all play for enjoyment and because we love the game, and that’s across any sport,” he said.

“But at this level you’re essentially playing to win, whether it’s division one or NBL1 — I’ve outlined the expectations and will select players based on those merits.

“The mental aspect and being well prepared definitely showed (against Warwick) and beating one of the top teams in the competition was proof of exactly what we can do.”

The Giants have an opportunity to consolidate a spot in the top eight this Saturday night against the Joondalup Wolves at Niels Hansen Stadium.

Giants' Damon Ballantyne pushes past Senators' Corban Wroe during round 6 of the NBL1 West men's season
Camera IconGiants' Damon Ballantyne pushes past Senators' Corban Wroe during round 6 of the NBL1 West men's season Credit: Carwyn Monck/Kalgoorlie Miner/Kalgoorlie Miner

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