Pioneers vs Frankston Blues Match Preview – 19th May 2017

Mount Gambier Pioneers vs Frankston Blues Match Preview Report Friday 19th May 2017
The Pioneers will be looking to redeem themselves this week when they return home to take on a Frankston side desperately looking to salvage their season. The match will be the first of several special jersey nights with the green and black being replaced by the red and gold of silver sponsors McDonalds. “It’s a big night for the club on Friday with the team wearing Maccas red and gold in support of one of our Silver sponsors” said Pioneers coach Richard Hill.
The Pioneers were humbled against Bendigo last weekend, being down as much as 36 points before eventually falling by 21 points. Coach Hill is looking for his “team to bounce back hard after our loss on the road last week. Training on Tuesday was pretty tough as was our film review” he said. The match against Bendigo was easily one of the poorest showings from the Pioneers in the last 5-6 years but it is the reality check that the side needed heading into the second half of the season after eight consecutive victories. Frankston have struggled to piece together competitive performances and are coming off a hiding of their own by 24 points against the Supercats in Round 7.
Frankston may be sitting in last place in the East Conference with just one win from nine matches but they do boast quality across their roster. According to Coach Hill, “although Frankston have been struggling for wins, they have a good deal of talent, with two quality imports and a volume scorer in Benny Lewis”. Lewis has played in the NBL, NBA D-League and in Europe and brings a wealth of experience to the floor and is enjoying a hot start to the season to date putting up 14.7ppg, 4.7rpg and 3.3 apg.
Hill is also wary of Alex Francis “who looks very impressive on tape and would probably be leading the league in scoring if he was converting better from the free throw line”. Francis poses a huge threat in the paint and will be a major challenge for Daniel Alexander and Luke Jamieson on the interior as his current stats of 20ppg and 10.6 rpg suggest. Hill is aware of the threat that Francis poses and believes a team effort will get the job done, stating that “Francis will provide a real challenge for Daniel and Luke and they will need some real support from their team mates to contain him”.
Tom Daly was enjoying a stellar start to his first season as captain of the Pioneers but had his colours lowered severely against a Dyami Starks inspired Bendigo side last weekend. Starks would pile on 32 points against Daly who would not bother the scoreboard attendant until the final term when he finally broke free for nine consolation points. Daniel Alexander was also well below his best as he faced the man mountains of CJ Aiken and Matt Andronicus with little assistance from Luke Jamieson and John Jones. Hill expects both Daly and Alexander to return to form against the Blues, stating that “Tom and Daniel were below their usual standard in Bendigo and I would expect them to bounce back on our home court”.
The true strength for the Pioneers in this match will be at the guard positions with both Tom Daly and Erik Burdon looking set to dominate against Tristan Lloyd and Jake Macaulay. The Pioneers should have too much depth across these positions with Kane DeWit and Jack Madgen providing more than serviceable relief to Daly and Burdon as required. Hill echoes these sentiments in stating that “our advantage should be in the guard spots where we have very good depth of talent”.
The stage is set for an epic encounter with the Pioneers looking for a confidence boosting victory after an abysmal showing in their last outing. Frankston will be looking to cause the boil over of the season to date as they look to gain some respect from their Eastern Conference peers. Expect early fireworks as both sides come ready to play but it is a case of being wary of the wounded Pioneers who are smarting after last week’s horrific performance and with their coach’s words ringing loudly in their ears they will look to remind the competition of their true identity as championship contenders.